Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Flimsy Logic of Science

If you dare to believe anything at all beyond the strict boundaries of so called good science, it may have happened to you that a self-proclaimed sceptic/atheist/scientist disregarded and invalidated your whole life's experience as well as your person by spouting a single catchphrase. Let's look at some of those popular self-evident scientific truths about our reality a little closer.

Occam's Razor - Arbitrary Axiomatic Assumption

This one is fairly well known, so let's confuse it a little by stating what it says in a complicated way - "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity". This means that when you seek to explain something, it is illogical to assume that the explanation involves something convoluted, improbable and/or unnecessary. Only a complete lack of simple explanation would make it reasonable to assume the explanation is something unusual and/or complicated. What makes this opinion/value judgment (and it is in essence nothing more than that) flimsy? Just ask yourselves (or the scientist) this - who decides, what is simple enough or truly necessary? Do invisible rays, microscopic microbes or parallel universes seem simple and necessary to you? Every single one AS OF YET unsupported notion cannot seem simple or necessary in the light of contemporary state of science in any age. Until it suddenly and magically always have done. To true scientific progress in uncovering new fundamental truths, Occam's razor is a conservative, playing it safe approach, nothing more. 

They say if a doorbell rings, it is more logical to assume it is a postman than the Queen of England. But guess what, it is guaranteed that members of royal families throughout the world and its history have definitely visited some people. Invocation of Occam's razor is a mere opinion that something seems too unlikely to give it a shot, while rare things are known to happen all the time and even those that haven't happened yet are for the most part entirely possible - aliens can exist and visit us at any time, thought to be mythical creatures or cities or artifacts have also been found at times, there is always something momentarily invisible to us, you take a pick. Trying to test an unusual theory may very well result in a dramatic success and a huge leap forward in understanding of the world, for strange rare phenomena make big discoveries. And if there are enough attempts, ordinary statistics dictate that some successes will occur with certainty. So if you feel like it, there is nothing illogical about being a bold fool. For Science.

Nothing and Randomness - Defensive Dogmatic Dodge

Now you may wonder, what is the simplest and most best explanation for things that science in fact does not have any explanation for. And leave it to scientific minds to be crafty at making stuff up, big time. It turns out that when you say there is a hidden pattern to something, like a decisive agent or a specific logic, without reviewable evidence you are merely speculating. But when you say that there definitely is nothing there or that it is "random", you deserve an (evidence-)free ride, credit, respect, authority and an immunity from being questioned by people WHO HAVE JUST AS MUCH EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THEIR CLAIMS AS YOU DO - NONE. If we are talking truth, like the real thing, beyond what we can observe may have always been nothing or something, order or chaos, intelligence or luck, making it all happen. Since it is beyond what we can observe and therefore test, and the most fundamental truths always will be, for they lie before time and outside of space, nothingness and randomness are also only opinions, not facts. No stronger than any other equally unsubstantiated beliefs about the fundamental nature of the cosmos. Many scientists feel them to be more likely in the spirit of aforementioned Occam's razor, but that just makes two for two in the shamelessly making stuff up category. Being conservative doesn't automatically make anyone right. What there should be in the public and academic discourse on this topic is a debate between people who have different ideas, not barricades made out of superiority complexes or taboos between different sides of the argument.

Burden of Proof - Selective Sceptical Strawman

Even if you could somehow ignore, forget and forgive that scientists give themselves free ride with their most fundamental assumptions, they would still go out of their way to annoy you with requiring extraordinary amounts of evidence at every turn for anything that didn't come from their method. Philosophy? Armchair speculation. Art? Baseless fabrication. And scientists like these two. The rest is just primitive superstition (you can hear that one a lot). It is not enough that they would most likely mock you and condescend toward you, they will also impose their standards on what the proof should be like (or it is not a proof at all) and they will tell you what existence means, duh (or else it is not real enough). Now at this point scientists would proclaim, that their standards are only fair and reliable. Let's examine what they flatly exclude and how unreasonable those things are. For instance proof is not a proof and a test is not a test and an experiment is not an experiment unless it can be repeated by other people on demand.

So it doesn't matter that you have directly experienced something completely real, but so complex and rare and deep (and significant) that it can never be accurately repeated or understood by most of the other people who will sincerely try. Then there is the hillarious placebo problem - it is fake, but it does work. Scientists have a real hard time wrapping their head around that square circle. The science's disdain for arts is entirely based on its conservative doubt towards the real power of make-believe. Science especially shuns analogies and metaphors and concepts abstract to the point of being ethereal, like eternal ideas. Or spirit. Even though these "fantasies" are just as real as anything else we perceive - a logical case could be made that this universe is the dream and the dreams are in fact the true reality. If Santa Claus is a complete and utter lie, then so are Love and Justice and Free Will. And all other values, and all that makes us who we are. Scientists are just usually affraid to go that far down the rabbit hole of their own reasoning. Extraordinary evidence my ass - it is their own lack of imagination that is extraordinary.

God of the Gap - Idiotic Invalid Illusion

And finally this delusion, which says that as the science progresses, the unexplained diminishes and therefore there is less and less stuff for a god or some spirits or other superstitious mumbo-jumbo to do. It may not have been apparent from the overall tone of this article this far, but I am something of a futurist and I spend a lot of time by educating myself in science and keeping up-to-date with new discoveries in...well anything, really. And that is why it veritably perplexes me, how someone can look at the same stuff and think to himself something along the lines of "soon there will be nothing more to explain". If anything, Socrates' "I know that I know nothing" comes to mind when you ponder for instance the recent strides in theoretical physics. Let's look at the most fundamental level. At first, we thought that particles have one state and we can know what it is. Now we know they have multiple states at once and we cannot know all about them - not just because the measurement ultimately screws its own results, but because the particles at some level just happen to be undecided most of the time about their orientation. Even empty space - as nothing as we can measure - happens to pop stuff in and out of existence if it gets bored or something. You can average this chaos and manage it somewhat, but guess what is the explanation for why and how the chaos fundamentally occurs - you guessed it, THERE ISN'T ONE. In other words you may be familiar with by now, "it's random". 

Do you know how it would look like in the measurements and in the math if each particle was alive and had free will or was nudged by a will of the cosmos within some very broad confines of physics, that may or may not stay the way they are the next second or a trillion years? EXACTLY THE SAME. Similarly in the big picture department, scientists of the Newtonian era used to think they understand most of it. And they did not by soo much. After we later discovered that gravity bends light and time and space, ever since the creation of the cosmos by NOBODY KNOWS WHAT OR WHO OR HOW OR WHY, therefore "nothing" for sure, we found out that apart from normal matter, which is really energy, there are dark matter and dark energy. Now the knowledge *shrinking* fact - we thought visible matter and energy is ALL there is, the 100%. Do you know what the current estimate is? I'll tell you, it is minuscule 4%. There is more dark matter than that, and it has only mass and gravity that we can detect and no other interaction with dimensions occupied by us as far as we can tell. The vast majority of what moves our universe is the dark energy then. Do you know what that is, exactly? No? Nevermind, nobody really does. It is ripping our spacetime at its seams, though. Maybe a negative pull of vacuum to counterweigh the spontaneous occurence of our universe from nothing. And this esoteric piece of cosmology is the official scientific statement as of now. How very simple and necessary, plausible and thorough. At least the math seems to hold up. Fun fact, did you know that math is also made up? 

But that is a story for another time.


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