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Who here believes in "Scientism"?

George-ananda

Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
Premium Member
Depends on how they're defined.
(your reply in reference to my example of 'and things like the existence of God or the existence of a real spiritual plane of reality.')

I am saying they are defined in such a way that they cannot be proved/disproved by current science. I'm saying a 'Scientism' person would not hold such beliefs. This makes 'Scientism' not just a pejorative word but a valid philosophy like empiricism.
 

Jose Fly

Fisker of men
I am saying they are defined in such a way that they cannot be proved/disproved by current science.
Which is generally consistent with most theistic beliefs.

I'm saying a 'Scientism' person would not hold such beliefs. This makes 'Scientism' not just a pejorative word but a valid philosophy like empiricism.
Okay. It'd probably be more fruitful to discuss that with someone who actually holds that view.
 

blü 2

Veteran Member
Premium Member
(your reply in reference to my example of 'and things like the existence of God or the existence of a real spiritual plane of reality.')

I am saying they are defined in such a way that they cannot be proved/disproved by current science. I'm saying a 'Scientism' person would not hold such beliefs. This makes 'Scientism' not just a pejorative word but a valid philosophy like empiricism.
How do you define "real"?

My working definition of "real" is, existing in the world external to the self (which we know about through our senses) ie in nature, objective reality.

By that definition, would not what you propose be unreal? Found only as a concept or thing imagined by an individual brain?
 

George-ananda

Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
Premium Member
How do you define "real"?

My working definition of "real" is, existing in the world external to the self (which we know about through our senses) ie in nature, objective reality.

By that definition, would not what you propose be unreal? Found only as a concept or thing imagined by an individual brain?
I have essentially the same definition of real.

For example, I hold the spiritual planes to be objectively real and beyond the domain of our physical senses and instruments of science. So, a 'Scientism' person would not hold such beliefs.

In my use Scientism is not a pejorative but a philosophy.
 

blü 2

Veteran Member
Premium Member
I have essentially the same definition of real.

For example, I hold the spiritual planes to be objectively real and beyond the domain of our physical senses and instruments of science. So, a 'Scientism' person would not hold such beliefs.

In my use Scientism is not a pejorative but a philosophy.
Thanks.

I'd have said, though, that something beyond the domain of our physical senses and instruments exists ONLY as a concept or thing imagined. The Higgs boson (for example) spent a few decades in that condition till it was ultimately detected ─ but it had a sufficiently precise definition to allow us to know it when we found it, and it came from a body of theory whose record of reliability made it worthwhile to investigate.

Whereas several thousand years of reports suggesting invisible or hidden or spiritual abodes of supernatural beings have none of those qualifications, no consistency between them, and no such discovery hence verification.

But ─ good luck with your hunting. If your team can demonstrate the reality of their claims, I'll be very interested.
 

George-ananda

Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
Premium Member
Thanks.

I'd have said, though, that something beyond the domain of our physical senses and instruments exists ONLY as a concept or thing imagined. The Higgs boson (for example) spent a few decades in that condition till it was ultimately detected ─ but it had a sufficiently precise definition to allow us to know it when we found it, and it came from a body of theory whose record of reliability made it worthwhile to investigate.

Whereas several thousand years of reports suggesting invisible or hidden or spiritual abodes of supernatural beings have none of those qualifications, no consistency between them, and no such discovery hence verification.

But ─ good luck with your hunting. If your team can demonstrate the reality of their claims, I'll be very interested.
Well you speak exactly how what I would call a Scientism proponent would speak. You require verification through mainstream science.

I, not being a follower of Scientism, also respect the clairvoyant, mystical, paranormal and channeled insights of those masters/teachers I respect even if the subjects are not addressable by science.

A Scientism proponent only values that which science can verify in these areas. To a Scientism proponent the important question is what can science prove.
 
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YoursTrue

Faith-confidence in what we hope for (Hebrews 11)
Thanks very much for this. I was not familiar with this passage and it is of particular importance to me. I think I did hear it many years ago but had forgotten it.
I want to say thank you to you, too, because your comment called to mind the reference Jesus made to the waters of life. John 4 again, Jesus was speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well who came to draw water: "In answer Jesus said to her: “Everyone drinking from this water will get thirsty again. 14 Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.” 15 The woman said to him: “Sir, give me this water, so that I may neither thirst nor keep coming over to this place to draw water.” The rest of the description of the incident is in that chapter (John 4), it's not long, but thanks for bringing it to mind.
 

YoursTrue

Faith-confidence in what we hope for (Hebrews 11)
That's very simple. None of the gases of which the air is composed absorbs light in the visible region of the spectrum.

Things have colour when they absorb, reflect or scatter one or more colours of the visible light spectrum. For instance leaves are green because the chlorophyll they contain absorbs in the red and the blue, and reflects green.

And the sun appears yellowish when low in the sky, and the sky itself is blue, because dust particles scatter some of the incoming blue light, while letting the rest through unscattered.

Glass doesn't absorb in the visible region either, so it too looks transparent. (But chemists have to use rock salt sample cells in infra-red spectrometers, because glass does absorb in the IR. It also absorbs in the UV.)
Here's also what I was thinking -- (I do think sometimes) -- the Bible speaks of angels. Angels have different qualities than humans. We can't see them, although they have appeared to various ones in the Bible.
 

Misunderstood

Active Member
How do you define "real"?

My working definition of "real" is, existing in the world external to the self (which we know about through our senses) ie in nature, objective reality.

By that definition, would not what you propose be unreal? Found only as a concept or thing imagined by an individual brain?
In my opinion most anything that can be defined, is real. Even thoughts internal to self.

The moment a thought is made it has become real. Before the thought, if no one had the thought before, it did not exist and would not be real. But as soon as it is formed within yourself, it is now something (a thought). And that thought can now be imagined and science can also detect through brain scans that a thought was made.

Take a look at a city, machine, an action a person makes, or any other thing that has been imagined and turned into a physical thing. With out a though these things would not exist. Even the good and bad we do starts as a thought and become very real. If I were to think, I want this person dead and pick up a gun and shoot them. That is very real.

But, back to Scientism. I do believe science will be able to answer most all questions some day. We are a long way from it, but feel it can. That would include figuring out what is good art, for the masses and what a specific individual would think is good art.

Someone also said in this thread that science would not be able to tell what they would have for lunch. I feel it could, with enough information.

Hmmm. I don't think the OP reflects the use of the term 'scientism' out in the world, but I will address the OP as written and scientism as defined.

Since "all questions" include things like, "What should I have for lunch?", my answer would be an unequivocal no, science is not required nor the means to answer all questions.
As stated "What should I have for lunch". Science would have a better answer to that than what a person may pick themself. Say they are diabetic, science would say, 'no you should not eat that sugar coated doughnut'. But I feel even if stated in a different way; "What will I eat for lunch". I think with enough information, like what foods are available within your foraging range, what you past eating habits are, a blood analysis to show what you body may need at that moment, and what you last ate like whether you mix things up once in a while or always eat the some thing (eating Habits). I bet science could come very close to what you would pick.
 

Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
In my opinion most anything that can be defined, is real. Even thoughts internal to self.

The moment a thought is made it has become real. Before the thought, if no one had the thought before, it did not exist and would not be real. But as soon as it is formed within yourself, it is now something (a thought). And that thought can now be imagined and science can also detect through brain scans that a thought was made.

Take a look at a city, machine, an action a person makes, or any other thing that has been imagined and turned into a physical thing. With out a though these things would not exist. Even the good and bad we do starts as a thought and become very real. If I were to think, I want this person dead and pick up a gun and shoot them. That is very real.

But, back to Scientism. I do believe science will be able to answer most all questions some day. We are a long way from it, but feel it can. That would include figuring out what is good art, for the masses and what a specific individual would think is good art.

Someone also said in this thread that science would not be able to tell what they would have for lunch. I feel it could, with enough information.


As stated "What should I have for lunch". Science would have a better answer to that than what a person may pick themself. Say they are diabetic, science would say, 'no you should not eat that sugar coated doughnut'. But I feel even if stated in a different way; "What will I eat for lunch". I think with enough information, like what foods are available within your foraging range, what you past eating habits are, a blood analysis to show what you body may need at that moment, and what you last ate like whether you mix things up once in a while or always eat the some thing (eating Habits). I bet science could come very close to what you would pick.
Does science say that diabetics should not eat sugar donuts? As far as I'm aware, science only describes what would happen if they did. Medical ethics, not science, say that doctors should advise a diabetic patient to not eat a sugar donut, but science itself is mute on normative statements, in my opinion.

Science is the methodological study of what's real. "Should" isn't a real property. It's a social construct that means different things to different people. Social psychology and anthropology can tell us about various cultural norms, and thus the "shoulds" of different places, but this is also just a description of the existing rules. These sciences are not necessarily advocating that we follow them.

I would be interested to hear if you think that medical ethics should be considered a part of science, given that they're so integral to the medical sciences, and if you think this constitutes scientific support for ethics. Personally, I don't think it does. I don't think the fact that science is being used in service of medicine means that medical intervention has been ethically verified by science.

I actually think it would be a misuse of the scientific method to attempt to study such normative claims, because the core of the scientific method is critical rationalism, which is based on logic and empiricism, which must acquiesce to Hume's guillotine, in my opinion. I think science can study the "facts" of what "is," but it cannot study the "value" one "ought" to assign them.

That's a different field entirely: ethics.
 

Misunderstood

Active Member
Does science say that diabetics should not eat sugar donuts? As far as I'm aware, science only describes what would happen if they did. Medical ethics, not science, say that doctors should advise a diabetic patient to not eat a sugar donut, but science itself is mute on normative statements, in my opinion.
You are right, science does not tell us, not to eat the sugar coated doughnut. Just that a person with a medical history of diabetes, it would not be good for you.
Science is the methodological study of what's real. "Should" isn't a real property. It's a social construct that means different things to different people. Social psychology and anthropology can tell us about various cultural norms, and thus the "shoulds" of different places, but this is also just a description of the existing rules. These sciences are not necessarily advocating that we follow them.
I am sorry, but I am not sure I am understanding what you are trying to tell me here. So forgive me if I get it wrong.

I think you are referring to the quote "What should I have for lunch?". All I am trying to say is that in asking the question "should I" science can give you a better answer than what you would pick. Science will give you an answer that is best for you, if that is the result you want. If you want what you would like the best, science would give you a different result. You always have the choice. But if science is asked what will they choice, given enough information, it can do that too.
I would be interested to hear if you think that medical ethics should be considered a part of science, given that they're so integral to the medical sciences, and if you think this constitutes scientific support for ethics. Personally, I don't think it does. I don't think the fact that science is being used in service of medicine means that medical intervention has been ethically verified by science.

I actually think it would be a misuse of the scientific method to attempt to study such normative claims, because the core of the scientific method is critical rationalism, which is based on logic and empiricism, which must acquiesce to Hume's guillotine, in my opinion. I think science can study the "facts" of what "is," but it cannot study the "value" one "ought" to assign them.
This is a whole subject to itself. Ethics.

It is getting late here, and I will go to bed soon. I will write a brief reply to this and maybe add to it latter on.

Hume's guillotine is a philosophical thought that I feel is not complete. "What is" and "What ought", is only part of the issue because we are not considering "What will". "What is" is the facts and evidence we use to decide "What will we do". But we cannot get to "What will we do" without considering "What ought we do" (our Morals and ethics). So we take the facts, combine them with our morals and ethics to find out what we will do.
 

blü 2

Veteran Member
Premium Member
In my opinion most anything that can be defined, is real. Even thoughts internal to self.
It's true that thoughts exist as physical brainstates. But that doesn't make the thing being thought of 'true' as I define that word.

For example, I can draw a unicorn on a sketchpad, but that won't make unicorns real. (Have you ever noticed how hard it is to keep unicorns out of conversations like this?) That has some parallels with my brain having the concept of a unicorn ─ or of Spiderman, Gandalf, the Screaming Skull and other entities that aren't found in the world external to the self. Which I say makes them unreal.

Of course the objects used in mathematics are also unreal for the same reason. You can't find an uninstantiated 2 running around in the wild.And you can't count things in nature or in thought unless YOU make a pre-judgment ─ what you want to count, and the field you want to count it in. How many cows in the barn? People whose surnames start with J who live in Cincinnati? Zeros in 1.7 ^13 (base 10)? If no you, then no counting, no numbers.
Take a look at a city, machine, an action a person makes, or any other thing that has been imagined and turned into a physical thing. With out a though these things would not exist.
That is, a brain conceptualizes the task, the solution, the details of the solution. The concept is not the finished product. Just as the map is not the territory, the concept of the map is not the map.
 

mikkel_the_dane

My own religion
Does science say that diabetics should not eat sugar donuts? As far as I'm aware, science only describes what would happen if they did. Medical ethics, not science, say that doctors should advise a diabetic patient to not eat a sugar donut, but science itself is mute on normative statements, in my opinion.

Science is the methodological study of what's real. "Should" isn't a real property. It's a social construct that means different things to different people. Social psychology and anthropology can tell us about various cultural norms, and thus the "shoulds" of different places, but this is also just a description of the existing rules. These sciences are not necessarily advocating that we follow them.

I would be interested to hear if you think that medical ethics should be considered a part of science, given that they're so integral to the medical sciences, and if you think this constitutes scientific support for ethics. Personally, I don't think it does. I don't think the fact that science is being used in service of medicine means that medical intervention has been ethically verified by science.

I actually think it would be a misuse of the scientific method to attempt to study such normative claims, because the core of the scientific method is critical rationalism, which is based on logic and empiricism, which must acquiesce to Hume's guillotine, in my opinion. I think science can study the "facts" of what "is," but it cannot study the "value" one "ought" to assign them.

That's a different field entirely: ethics.

Let us look at one example of a real property.
The cat is black. I.e. I can see that the cat is black. And now comes the joke. All of you doing scientism as per real do the same. You conflate 2 different versions of X is Y. In effect you treat the following 2 versions of the verb "be" as the same.
The cat is black is the same as science is the methodological study of what's real. Indeed what real is, is real as what the cat is as per observation.
But it is not. The cat is black is not the same as the cat is real. And what science is, is that it is several different cognitive behaviors in humans, and that is not the same as what the cat is, even for the word "is".
I could go on, but I won't. Either you learn that real is not different than in effect ethics. It is a norm for human cognition of what some people claim matters more than something else.
 

blü 2

Veteran Member
Premium Member
Well you speak exactly how what I would call a Scientism proponent would speak. You require verification through mainstream science.

I, not being a follower of Scientism, also respect the clairvoyant, mystical, paranormal and channeled insights of those masters/teachers I respect even if the subjects are not addressable by science.

A Scientism proponent only values that which science can verify in these areas. To a Scientism proponent the important question is what can science prove.
Since scientific method is only one part of reasoned enquiry, I'm happy to declare my belief in reasoned enquiry as the best method for answering a great range of questions that seek factual answers.

So for me the supernatural, by its very meaning, is necessarily only imaginary /conceptual, since that's the only way things can exist that are not found in nature / the world external to the self / the realm of the physical sciences.

If there was an objective test that could distinguish the supernatural from the conceptual / imaginary, then that might be a way forward.
 

mikkel_the_dane

My own religion
Since scientific method is only one part of reasoned enquiry, I'm happy to declare my belief in reasoned enquiry as the best method for answering a great range of questions that seek factual answers.

So for me the supernatural, by its very meaning, is necessarily only imaginary /conceptual, since that's the only way things can exist that are not found in nature / the world external to the self / the realm of the physical sciences.

If there was an objective test that could distinguish the supernatural from the conceptual / imaginary, then that might be a way forward.

The problem I have with the way you use definitions is that you treat it as if claiming X is Y as a definition then it is a fact that X is Y.
If that work then this would be a fact, the definition of God is the creator of the universe.
 

Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
Let us look at one example of a real property.
The cat is black. I.e. I can see that the cat is black. And now comes the joke. All of you doing scientism as per real do the same. You conflate 2 different versions of X is Y. In effect you treat the following 2 versions of the verb "be" as the same.
The cat is black is the same as science is the methodological study of what's real. Indeed what real is, is real as what the cat is as per observation.
But it is not. The cat is black is not the same as the cat is real. And what science is, is that it is several different cognitive behaviors in humans, and that is not the same as what the cat is, even for the word "is".
I could go on, but I won't. Either you learn that real is not different than in effect ethics. It is a norm for human cognition of what some people claim matters more than something else.

Yes, saying that a cat is black is saying that the cat is within the type (or set) of black objects, which is loosely defined by absorbing a large portion of photons. When I say that something is real, I am likewise saying that it has the type of real, under formal type theory, which I prefer to set theory due to its applications in computation.

Ethical values are not real. Cats are. Black is not real, but it is a way of categorizing real things. Blue is real, however, because it refers to photons travelling within a certain range of wavelengths. Blue is not a property, but instead refers to a specific kind of light.

Things are only "real" in so far as they are concrete, natural, and physical. Black does not fulfill that criteria. A screen can look white in a dark room but black in a bright one. It's not a property of the object itself. When blue is treated as a property, it's a relationship between an object and the photons that touch it, specifically that it reflects mostly blue light while absorbing most of the rest of the natural color spectrum.

It's not about what "matters more." It's about what objectively exists in the external world that we indirectly perceive with our imperfect senses. Even if you're a solipsist, you have to admit that there is a different quality to the objects you observe with your senses than the sensations you imagine or visualize. Namely, you have no control over them. That lack of control is enough to call it "external" as in "external to your direct control."

It has the appearance of self-consistency and, through induction, we can demonstrate that it is as real as we are and is indeed self-consistent. We can't prove this absolutely, but this is a problem that's been resolved enough since Descartes.

I'm not having this argument with you again, though. I don't think you instigate these arguments over reality and knowledge in good faith, as if you were just dispassionately making the best arguments you can for epistemic non-cognitivism or solipsism. I'm beginning to seriously suspect that you just want to deny reality so you can believe whatever you want.

I can't stop you, but that's irrational. Literally irrational. The rationalists are the ones who helped show that external reality probably does exist.
 

mikkel_the_dane

My own religion
Yes, saying that a cat is black is saying that the cat is within the type (or set) of black objects, which is loosely defined by absorbing a large portion of photons. When I say that something is real, I am likewise saying that it has the type of real, under formal type theory, which I prefer to set theory due to its applications in computation.

Ethical values are not real. Cats are. Black is not real, but it is a way of categorizing real things. Blue is real, however, because it refers to photons travelling within a certain range of wavelengths. Blue is not a property, but instead refers to a specific kind of light.

Things are only "real" in so far as they are concrete, natural, and physical. Black does not fulfill that criteria. A screen can look white in a dark room but black in a bright one. It's not a property of the object itself. When blue is treated as a property, it's a relationship between an object and the photons that touch it, specifically that it reflects mostly blue light while absorbing most of the rest of the natural color spectrum.

It's not about what "matters more." It's about what objectively exists in the external world that we indirectly perceive with our imperfect senses. Even if you're a solipsist, you have to admit that there is a different quality to the objects you observe with your senses than the sensations you imagine or visualize. Namely, you have no control over them. That lack of control is enough to call it "external" as in "external to your direct control."

It has the appearance of self-consistency and, through induction, we can demonstrate that it is as real as we are and is indeed self-consistent. We can't prove this absolutely, but this is a problem that's been resolved enough since Descartes.

I'm not having this argument with you again, though. I don't think you instigate these arguments over reality and knowledge in good faith, as if you were just dispassionately making the best arguments you can for epistemic non-cognitivism or solipsism. I'm beginning to seriously suspect that you just want to deny reality so you can believe whatever you want.

I can't stop you, but that's irrational. Literally irrational. The rationalists are the ones who helped show that external reality probably does exist.

Okay, that you can't understand the difference for the word and verb "be" as different for the cat is black versus the cat is real, I can't help you.
 

Ella S.

Dispassionate Goth
Okay, that you can't understand the difference for the word and verb "be" as different for the cat is black versus the cat is real, I can't help you.
It's not that I can't understand. It's that you're wrong and don't know what you're talking about. "Is" has some very rigid formal definitions in the formal sciences, and there are three main different uses of it. It can refer to something that is within a category, of a specific type, or it can refer to logical equivalence.

Both of the statements you're giving here can be understood as categories or types. If you can't understand that, we can go to the basics of categorical syllogisms and work our way up to set theory and type theory if you would like, but I'm not going to waste my time doing that if you're just going to be hostile to the discourse.
 

mikkel_the_dane

My own religion
It's not that I can't understand. It's that you're wrong and don't know what you're talking about. "Is" has some very rigid formal definitions in the formal sciences, and there are three main different uses of it. It can refer to something that is within a category, of a specific type, or it can refer to logical equivalence.

Both of the statements you're giving here can be understood as categories or types. If you can't understand that, we can go to the basics of categorical syllogisms and work our way up to set theory and type theory if you would like, but I'm not going to waste my time doing that if you're just going to be hostile to the discourse.

Yeah they are types but not the same type. Do you understand that?

So if we start with one of the axiomatic assumptions for some of the versions of science, namely that the universe is real, then that is not a fact.
It is what allows you to reason about your thoughts and other experiences. But it is not a fact anymore that God is the creator of the universe.
Or that you are rational and I am not.
 

George-ananda

Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
Premium Member
So for me the supernatural, by its very meaning, is necessarily only imaginary /conceptual,
To me the so-called supernatural is the natural not directly observable by our physical senses and instruments. Something can be real but outside the range of our senses. For example, the Higgs Boson was real but unknown a thousand years ago but outside the range of people's senses and instruments.
since that's the only way things can exist that are not found in nature / the world external to the self / the realm of the physical sciences.
But didn't the Higgs Boson exist a thousand years ago? Our physical science is limited, and I am saying there are also clairvoyant, psychic, mystical and other ways of experiencing reality that can have validity.
If there was an objective test that could distinguish the supernatural from the conceptual / imaginary, then that might be a way forward.
Yes, we should hope for science to tell us more. In the meantime, I will also use my reason to consider things from methods of investigation that are beyond physical science. I think that last sentence is what separates Scientism followers from non-followers.
 
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