Sunday, March 31, 2013

Trust the science!!! (... are we really SURE?)

Executive summary:

Science is not the uber-schiznit. 
Science is a useful tool as a method of inquiry.

While science, as a method of inquiry, 
can help inform us of the risks of an activity, like Fracking, 
science CAN NEVER answer the question:
"Considering all of the known risks, 

SHOULD WE permit fracking?"
This requires human judgment
beyond & outside the realm 

of the mere cognitive.
... and an experience of being transcendent of the mere rational.

Science is a useful tool. Of this there is no doubt.
Yet, a wise person understands a tool,
understands its recommended applications,
and limitations. 

Science as an absolute worldview, or dogmatic belief system
provides a grave threat to the practice of authentic science,
(as a means of inquiry). 

Narrative text:

Cuomo says: "We must trust the science!"
Energy in Depth says: We must trust the science!
The people say: "We must trust the science!"
Wow, have we found a common shared value?

... or is EID exploiting a fundamental error in our thinking
about the scientific paradigm?

Turns out there is a Ted Talk about this very subject,
By Oxford scientist Rupert Sheldrake,
a critique of a belief in the absolute certainty of science
which is so controversial to be banned by TED!

The people at TED are so freaked out, 

they pulled the Youtube,
and locked down the Vimeo so much

that it cannot be shared directly!
without being subjected to reading
the big disclaimer from TED.

These are evidently dangerous ideas, so watch this with caution:

Here are some facts about science.
(I can support all statements which published citations.)

  • Certainty is a limitation of Science,
    not an asset.
    (cf. Heisenberg, Godel, Kuhn, etc)

  • Science
    1. is haunted by irreconcilable paradox (cf. Russell, Hofstadter, Godel)
    2. is based upon unprovable axioms which much be taken on faith (cf. Kuhn)
    3. sometimes generates meaningless gibberish, like "1/0" or "log(0)",
      (cf. Godel), phrases which are so dangerous, ugly, and subversive
      as to be utterly forbidden from usage!
  • Science is always changing. It is not immutable,
    which we would expect truth to be.
  • Scientific truths must be repeatable on demand,
    thus are unable to describe one-time events.

  • All scientific truths are falsifiable, therefore suspect.
  • Science is amoral, utterly.
    Science is without a moral compass.
    Morals and ethics are not within the domain of scientific inquiry. 
  • Mathematics, is the language of science,
    is useful for describing certain material phenomena,
    e.g., projectile motion, and bridge mechanics,
  • However Science is not well equipped to describe or measure
    virtue, creativity, inspiration, intuition, cause, choice, impulse, emotion, or purpose
    or other aspects of consciousness or being,
  • Science is deeply rooted in the Rational and Cognitive,
    however these are only a subset of conscious experience.
Are we sure we want to
"trust the science"

with very important decisions?

... which are affecting the quality of life
for many beings in Four Directions
and throughout many generations?


A wise person recognizes a useful tool as such,
and always uses a tool for
only the recommended purpose.

A wise person does not use a hammer,
for example, to thread a needle
or to make ice cold,

A wise person does not use a wrench to analyze music.
This is a misuse of the tool.

I think most scientific discoveries rely upon an educated "hunch" or guess
which the scientist sees as a vision or dream
in their imagination--- this vision or hunch guides their inquiry.

Many creative people speak about this as a "Genius"
or Muse, a kind of spirit-guide which is from outside, elsewhere.

Science is best to use to make correlations and
"educated guesses" as to how certain mechanistic things work.
These theories can be demonstrated with models which make predictions.

However, every model has limitations
and a restricted domain of application.

Let us be informed by all dimensions of our experience,
including, but not limited to, the rational and cognitive
(which is where science hangs out)....

Let us not worship the rational/cognitive
as if that's all there is.


Science can NEVER say
"Activity X is Safe" or "Activity X is Unsafe".

The strict definition of "safe" means "without risk".
Since there is no activity in life which is without risk,
then we can not name anything as being safe.

Fracking is, like
hopscotch or golfing or driving your car to the market--
inherently risky and unsafe activity.

In actual practice, the measure of "safety" 
is a qualitative human judgment
which science is utterly unable to make.

If I were to ask science:
What is the escape velocity of a rocket?
Or, What are the equations which govern electrical transmission?
 ...or some such thing, science is perfectly capable to answer.

However, if we ask any kind of a qualitative assessment,
like "which is better, coffee or tea?" or something less trivial,
"Is fracking safe?"-- science is utterly unable to answer.

Science can tell you whether cancer clusters are correlated
to proximity to compressor stations... or whether the gas
in your drinking water is thermogenic methane or biogenic,

But science is utterly unable to answer:
"Should we permit fracking, or not?"

And I wish we all would please stop talking about science
as if it were able to give that answer,
because it cannot.

It is not reasonable to demand that science answer that question.

That is a complex question requiring human judgment
which involves nindfulness
of  many aspects of consciousness
beyond the mere rational/cognitive--


compassion, cultural memory, instinct, intuition, creativity,

imagination, choice, emotions, body sensation, moral duty, ethics, 
purpose, caution, and care of the planet over which we have custody.

None of those things have anything to do with science,

but absolutely MUST be a part of the decision-making process.

Thanks for listening,

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

1 comment:

Green Alice Livestream said...

Science IS the new religion. When not fixating on It being THE way THE truth THE light it can be quite useful.
The fact that science is the new religion--a replacement for Christianity courtesy of of the Enlightenment-- is ironic because many scientists are ardent atheists. Sometimes scientists adhere to rigid dogma like Baptists clenching their Bibles.