scientific method and truth ...

by soft+gentle 66 Replies latest jw friends

  • slimboyfat

    you seem to be making a point about linguistics.

    Of course I am, but our conception of the world is constructed by language. You cannot separate one from the other.

    how we choose to organise those facts is another subject.

    No it is not, for the reasons I have given above. How we organise facts is the way that we socially construct knowledge. It is not even simply that we should call an apple an apple and not another word, but that the conceptual unit that we label an apple should be called into existence as a discreet concept in the first place. At first it seems obvious that it should, but on further reflection this is not at all clear. And why are a red apple and a green apple both apples? Why are red peaches not apples? Why is an apple on a tree called an apple the same as an apple in the bowl? Why do we have a word for an apple but not a word for an apple and a branch together? These are utterly arbitrary and socially contingent distinctions. How we use language does not merely describe the world as it is, it constructs the world during the process of description. Language is not a clear mirror into the world. So long as science must use language to communicate its ideas it is also defined by its slipperlyness.

    bohm did you know that even our conception of numbers may be socially constructed? There is apparently a tribe in the Amazon for whom numbers larger than two simply do not exist as distinct concepts. Google - Amazon tribe without numbers.

  • bohm

    SBF: You still havent answered my question.

  • iamwhoiam

    Scientific method - takes something observed, forms a lab tested hypothosis, then becomes a theory. It then takes that theory and tries to prove it wrong. If it can't be proven wrong, it still remains a theory, which remains the current truth until it can be proven false. When a theory is proven wrong, scientists rejoice and begin work on trying to disprove the new replacement theory. rinse and repeat.

    Religious Method (The Truth) - takes something observed, forms a theory. Then it takes that theory and says its truth (via curve fitting). If it can't be proven right, it remains a theory, which remains the current truth until it is simply replaced by another theory at the whims of someone of non-scientific authority. rinse and repeat.

    Unless you are working for a drug company, one makes alot of money and the other makes less money. I bet my left nut religion makes the most money.

  • slimboyfat

    "Real objects" are themselves constituted by the language we use. The world is broken up into arbitrary units by language. So we have a word for an apple but not for an apple and branch together - the apple-branch, as a giraffe might call it. We use the same word for an apple whether it is on the tree, in a bowl or cut into pieces on a plate. But if the bowl in which we place the apple is made from the wood of an apple tree we don't still call it apple tree when it is shaped into a bowl. But we could if we wanted. And we could have different words for apples on tree and apples in bowls, just the same as we have different words for cows in fields and beef on the plate. Some languages don't in fact make those distinctions and some do. The found world is not rendered transparently through language, rather it is constituted by the that language we use. An apple does not exist as a discreet concept any more than apple-branch, purely, out there in the world. It is called into existence when we call it by the name of our choosing.

  • bohm

    SBF: Well, i understand we use language to describe concepts, and a person without words for "apple" tend not to use that word. So far so good. But again, as i have asked a few times, is there anything more to what you are saying than the trivial point there is a difference between the concepts and that which the concepts refer to?

  • bohm

    SBF: actually nevermind. I think we should agree that i am just unable to understand what you mean.

  • King Solomon
    King Solomon

    Theology claims to offer ABSOLUTE truths, which do not exist. All thoughts in your head are a MODEL of reality, not the actual quantity your model is attempting to represent. Not understanding that concept leads the Eric Hovind-type fundies to ask moronic questions such as, "Is a chemical reaction true or false?".

    The language of science is PROBABILITIES, where there is almost NEVER absolute, guaranteed outcomes; almost every theory has conditions which require asterisks, including the "law" of gravity. The exceptions don't mean we throw out the theory, but modify it.

  • slimboyfat

    But again, as i have asked a few times, is there anything more to what you are saying than the trivial point there is a difference between the concepts and that which the concepts refer to?

    No, but since there is such a difference science can never simply describe the world as it really is but only through socially constructed language concepts that are applied to the real world. What science can and does do well is provide useful conceptualisations for how how the world works that have practical applications, rather than provide a definitive account of the world as it really is as such. Which is pretty much was I said in my first post.

  • perfect1

    scientific method is a way of gathering knowledge through testing and verifying assumptions. Usually, once an assumption has evidence that it does in fact exist it is deemed to be "true." Because truth depends on objective testing and is subject to revision, truth is not an eternal or immutable fact, but a a process in which verfired assumptions prompt further questioning and testing, drawing additional conclusions or truths.

    When conducting research or experiments of any kind, it is always a first step to cite the previous studies done in order to give your question contextand validity. The previous studies are a way of explaining the generally accepted truth, which your work will build upon. From a scientific method perspective, truth as we understand it now is a small fragment of what remains to be understood, there is no truth which explains everything.

  • soft+gentle

    the sense I am getting is that there is no clear cut relationship between the scientific method and truth as such. In other words we cannot say that we get truth fullstop from applying the scientific method. Indeed it is like comparing apples and oranges - thank you NC.

    BTW I am not saying this to criticise science or the scientific method and no St George of England my topic was not stimulated by the recent KM. But if jws/xjws want to discuss it on this thread please do so.

    What I am trying to get to grips with is the aleatoric nature of scientific endeavour in its relationship to truth. To me, all of you seem to be saying this?

    I think SBF brings this out most of all, and once again this is not a criticism of science. But please remember I am no scientist - my background is the arts with a big dose of religion but I still want to understand where the scientific method fits in my worldview. Saying this because if you search aleatoric wiki will take you to an arts and music definition of aleatoric. sorry my browser won't let me link it in.

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