Thursday, November 05, 2015
Is science coming to an end?
See a discussion of this here. This is a follow-up.
A typical argument is goes this way.
1. Human beings are inherently biased. They will believe what they were taught to believe, or what they want to believe, unless this is somehow corrected.
2. Science, as a way of knowing the world, has a system of inherent safeguards against bias. By adopting a scientific perspective, one will not simply be exchanging one bias for another, one will be able to free oneself from bias.
3. Therefore, regardless of what seems to oneself to be true, we stand the best chance of overcoming bias by adopting a scientific perspective.
4. A scientific perspective has within it no room for faith, and no room for any belief in a supernatural being such as God.
5. Therefore, religious faith should be rejected, including the belief in God.
On the contrary, I think the value of science is context-dependent and contingent. It is a human institution, and it can be corrupted by human weaknesses. It operates most effectively through the use of high levels of specialization, but success in a highly specialized enterprise does not always translate to effective cognition across the board. There are numerous failed attempts to extrapolate results from some area of scientific success beyond their proper limits.
Here is a interesting set of warnings about what to watch for in science journalism.