Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Science v. Scientism

The practice of empiricism that has to do with reliably persuading events is science. Science does not rely on a placebo effect, except to rule it out.

The practice of empiricism that has to do with persuading people as if they were naive children or patients is scientism. Scientism relies on a placebo effect, to take advantage of it.

There is a history, skill, and art of placebo effects, but not a science. By careful attention to history, skill, connivance, and art, an artisan or practitioner may become a wealthy and powerful opinion leader and ruler of sheeple. A scientisimist can be well intentioned or malicious. When focused on improving the health of another, a scientisimist may be a doctor, i.e., both a scientist and an artisan. When focused on improving or ruling the politics of a society, a scientisimist may be a statesman or a despot. The road to perdition is paved with the good intentions of over-reaching scientisimists, such as the scientisimists who want to convince people of the need for a system of carbon taxes as a ruse for justifying ever more governmental intrusiveness by well intentioned elitists. Of course, once such elitists acquire the power they seek to do good, they tend to become corrupt cronies, demagogues, and despots.

The sheeple targeted by scientisimists tend to be the stupid, the naive, the young, the trusting, the idealistic, the senile, the feeble, and the ill. Scientisimists also often bait and target one another, such as when they intuit that the other is easily blinded either by his virtues or his vices. Greed, jealousy, envy, avarice, lust, anger, and pride are often blinders. Thus, scientisimists often ally or war with one another. They practice deceiving and plundering one another, which produces maelstorms. In such maelstorms, everyone tends to be caught, including ordinary, competent, self sustaining, decent people of good faith and good will who do not want to be either rulers or sheeple.

It's not that scientism is bad, per se.  It's just that it ought not be confused with, or allowed to cloak itself as, or claim the dignity of, science.  Scientism is concerned more with self-fulfilling or self-aggrandizing truthiness than with truth.  If people are to preserve their freedom and dignity, it is vital that they become more aware of the difference between science and scientism.  This is why the role of educators in such matters should be to teach people how to think critically, as opposed to what to think.


Anonymous said...

faith in a system of either-or logic for categorizing and defining mutually exclusive and exhaustive terms may be misplaced. Your answer concerning either a clear or objective distinction between an atheist and an agnostic may be less of a clear or objective answer than you believe. Bloom indicated a person, such as Dawkins, can claim to be both an atheist and an agnostic. If I understand you, your position is that an atheist is convinced that no God exists, while an agnostic is not convinced that no God exists or does not exist. One is convinced, the other is not.

That seems to indicate no overlap (at least, during the state of being either convinced or not). Bloom and Dawkins seem to indicate the possibility of a simultaneous overlap, rather than merely an alternating juxtaposition. If so, their definitions seem to be different from yours. Maybe an atheist is an heretical agnostic, and an agnostic is an heretical atheist. :)

I agree that both positions are matters of faith. Sort of like dramatic stances whose usefulness depend on one's subjective and fluxing situation. People adopt faiths to serve purposes. Atheists want to serve the pursuit of indifferent science. Agnostics may be unsure whether the cosmos really is entirely indifferent. Believers may intuit that the cosmos is not indifferent, and that coming together to reason in such light can be inspirational to a self-fulfilling sense of meaningful purposefulness. Atheists seem to care quite a lot about their position of being indifferent to God. Evidently, some character exists to inspire them in their own way of pursuing happiness and self-fullfillment.

I think how one uses the terms "atheist" and "agnostic" may have at least as much to do with one's subjective and fluxing purposes as with the possibilities for clear and objective categorizations of abstractions as if they were existent things in themselves.

Except as these abstractions haunt us, or we flux to haunt them, they are in themselves without meaning. I suspect what we, in our consciousness, deign to call "substance" and "information" are ultimately similar in that respect. What gives such abstractions meaning is a character (God?) that we can perhaps intuit but not measure or confine, whether or not we profess to have faith in it. What I would call the three faces of God (Consciousness, Substance, and Information) seem to relate (con-substantiate) in ways that no logic or science will ever confine to measured explanation. But this will not stop Dawkins, et al, from howling.

Anonymous said...

It seems some fundament abides that is both causal but, in itself, immeasurable. Maybe it applies nothing more than binary code to self program itself. If it does program itself, that seems pretty qualitatively mysterious and godlike. I doubt such a fundamental qualitative can reasonably be expected to be reduced to quantitative control, especially by any mortal.

As to its qualitative character, whether it is caring or indifferent, it would seem to me to entail a more difficult faith to believe it is entirely indifferent than to believe that it is involved in feedback as it continues to self program. It's a mystery. Being a mystery, I would opt for that fundamental orientation towards moral purposefulness that seems most conducive to decent sustenance of civilized freedom and dignity. That seems to consist in Christian values. I agree that any kind of worldview will unavoidably entail a leap of faith.

Anonymous said...

How does that work, definitionally? Are some atheists at some times not agnostics? Are some agnostics at some times not atheists? Is this a matter of subjective dramatic stance at any given moment, or is it a matter of substantive or objective difference? Is an atheist a person who believes he knows there is no causal agent higher than or on a par with substance? Or is an atheist a person who knows he knows there is no such active or activating causal agent? Without knowing everything, can he know such a thing? Or is it his working belief (or faith), based on never having measured an immeasurable causal agent? Has he measured what caused the big bang? Does he yet believe it happened? Is being an atheist and/or an agnostic a matter of present and changing orientation, faith, doubt, knowledge, or simple lack of interest? Does any dictionary or philosophy avail precise delineations and tests whereby a person can determine for himself, to accurately categorize himself as atheist, agnostic, neither, or both?

Anonymous said...

We redistribute welfare to the Abnormal Class so it can buy filth that enriches the purveyer-pimp-crony class. This hollows out the country -- economically, productively, and morally. In effect, the producing class is being taxed to pay those who seek to destroy us. And when we resist, we're lectured about diversity, tolerance, alternative values, bigotry, and hate speech. The only hate speech the Deviant Class (Progs) allows (and even celebrates!) is hate speech against free thinking, responsible Americans who comprehend the importance of faith, family, and fidelity.

Anonymous said...

The media helps race baiters decry any Repub southern strategy, but it does not decry the Dem anti-whitey, anti-normal, anti-America strategy. The Southern Strategy pertained to State's Rights, segregation, and enforcement of voting rights. It related to integration of lunch counters and forced service by private businesses to all persons. It related to claims of freedom of business association. Given the racial violence that seemed to be prevalent in the South, and given the visibility of the KKK in the South, many people deemed the heavy hand of governmental intrusiveness to be necessary. However, that has been pushed so far and so long that it has exceeded rational bounds of decency. Minorities have for many years no longer been excluded from voting or from being served in public establishments. Given the corporatization of America, it is doubtful that segregation would recur, except the voluntary segregation of minorities and jihadis into gangs against dhimmied Whites.

If anything, the need now is to stop the affirmative overreach. It tends to be blacks, not whites, who engage in voter intimidation, polar bear hunting, and race based gang threats. In a decent society, people ought generally to have freedom of expression, enterprise, and association. For a time, it may have been necessary for government to regulate such freedoms. (For example, the time has come that the banning of Mosques makes good sense.) However, as people have become more accustomed to diverse social relations, the need for heavy handed, one-sided, affirmative gov intrusiveness has subsided. But for the hatred that is stirred by Obama and his cohort of race baiters, and their willing importation of Muslims and third world commies, there is little reason to expect the need would recur. Much of the responsibility for dissatisfaction among minorities should now be laid at their own feet. Nothing precludes them or their spokespeople from leading them to lives that are more fulfilling than wallowing in games of blame throwing and self pity.

In broad terms, Goldwater cannot reasonably be faulted for seeking a society that accords individuals with freedom of expression, enterprise,and association. In any event, the main proponent of racial animosity as a Southern Strategy was George Wallace, who was no Republican. In the contest between Nixon, Humphrey, and Wallace, the Southern Strategy was George Wallace's. Nixon ceded all the southern states except the border states to Wallace, and Humphrey won Texas. In the later race between Nixon and McGovern, McGovern lost because he was a flake. Not because of Southern Strategy.

In this day and age, it is disgraceful and repugnant that Dems, Progs, and their media continue to harp on "Southern Strategy" as justifying the officiating of Obama, Holder, and now Lynch. As if requiring voter ID were Jim Crow. As if Affirmation Action now! Affirmative Action tomorrow! Affirmative action forever! were some kind of proper political slogan or principle for community organization. Yet, to look at all that Obama does, and all that his elitist instructors promote, it is evident that such is his mindset. He lives by the principle of turning competent, responsible, producing Americans of all colors into dhimmis to pay reparations to "his people." When Dems holler "racist!" they are projecting to divert attention away from their own despicable EVIL. No good can come of this. They can stuff "Southern Strategy" where the sun does not shine. Their Anti-American, commie-hippie-dhimmi strategy is loathsome to the lowest order.