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Is Scientism scientific?

  1. Jun 4, 2007 #1
    The epistemic interest and technical applications of Science are obvious.
    A lot of scientists think that Science is the only possible way to the knowledge of the "reality". So, it would be only a matter of time the conquest by Science of all the old metaphysical questions.
    I am not in accordance with this assertion. I think that this approach, Scientism, is not Science but a bad Metaphysics.
    ¿What is your opinion on this topic?
     
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  3. Jun 4, 2007 #2

    chroot

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    I don't think many scientists would assert anything so strong as "science is the only possible way to the knowledge of the 'reality'". Science happens to be the most successful methodology for understanding the physical world that mankind has ever created, but that doesn't mean it is capable of leading us to all the answers, or that it will not be eventually supplanted by some methodology of even greater power.

    If a horse race were used as an analogy to understanding the universe, we're simply betting on the best horse.

    - Warren
     
  4. Jun 4, 2007 #3
    I think most people that think Science is so omnipotent aren't scientists. They're dumbasses.
     
  5. Jun 4, 2007 #4

    chroot

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    Concise. :biggrin:

    - Warren
     
  6. Jun 5, 2007 #5
    We're not going to find the most fundamental laws of physics by use of the scientific methodology of experiment. The energies required of experiments to confirm such theories is just too great to be done by man, ever. Instead, we'll have to start with the most logical principles that cannot be mistaken and derive physics from that.
     
  7. Jun 6, 2007 #6

    chroot

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    Your post includes a tacit notion that to be called an experiment, we must have built all the apparatus ourselves. I certainly don't see this as a necessary condition: did Newton make the Earth so he could experiment with gravity?

    It turns out the universe around us provides many, many different high-energy "laboratories" we may study, in the form of supernovae, black holes, etc. There's a reason why high-energy physicists and astronomers keep sharing tables in the lunch room these days.

    - Warren
     
  8. Jun 8, 2007 #7

    Very few scientists claim that science will one day answer all important questions regarding Nature (though many may be confident here). But there are plenty of them who adopt a weaker form of scientism...namely that knowledge can be obtained only by using methodologies that at least approximate the existing scientific methodologies (science approach Truth via the existing scientific methodologies, their actual place is basically granted once and forever, no important paradigm shift is ever expected by a rational being at this level).

    It is this type of scientism which is behind (for example) all strong conclusions of Richard Dawkins*, behind the strong support for scientific realism (though the problem of Truth is far from being solved once and forever, I touched this subject here) or behind L. Motl's cheap rejection of Bohmian mechanics and strong emergence...

    Still there is no sufficient reason at this time to grant a 'God's eye point of view' to the actual scientific methodologies (a minimal form of realism included), a healthy form of skepticism is clearly a much better solution...it can be accepted that the actual scientific methodologies are our best 'tools' at the moment to make sense of the observed facts but this in no way imply scientism (as defined above)...


    *all types of religious beliefs in the existence of a Creator (eternal or outside time) - even not conceived yet alternatives - are irrational, a possible Creator of our Universe is necessarily complex and thus the end product of a 'natural' process etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  9. Jun 9, 2007 #8
    DSM: Science or Scientism?

    It is possible that modern Psichiatry exemplifies the Scientism in his hard form.
    The manual currently used to diagnose psychiatric disorders, the DSM IV, do not seems, from my viewpoint, the best method of approach to the complexity of mental diseases.
     
  10. Jun 9, 2007 #9

    arildno

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    First of all:
    We can distinguish between that class of existents that comprises A:"all that exists that cannot be discovered, or guessed at, by scientific methods" and B:"all that exist that can be discovered, or guessed at, by scientific methods"
    For class B, why should we employ any other methods than science, and for class A, how could we ever know it isn't empty?
     
  11. Jun 10, 2007 #10
    The "...knowledge of reality" is a rather ambiguous term, I guess you mean "absolute knowledge?" It is a bit silly to think that science alone can bring us knowledge of reality, everytime I stub my toe I am reminded of reality. As for absolute knowledge, nothing hits home faster and more clearly than a stubbed toe!
     
  12. Jun 19, 2007 #11
    I'm pretty sure my consciousness and everything interior to me exists, even though I can't prove it using exterior methodologies.
     
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