Is Science a value system?

Discussion in 'The Cesspool' started by Magical Realist, Jan 15, 2015.

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  1. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I'm not sure what value knowing an asteroid or a solar flare is coming would have to us. Can we do anything about it. No. We'd be sitting ducks either way.
     
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I will concede the value of star study for planting crops 3000 years ago and navigating ancient ships. But I'm pretty sure that's not a benefit of astronomy nowadays.
     
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  5. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

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    True, but until known, man cannot do that.
    Fact that many diseases were caused by germs, has been a valuable fact for many sick people, whether or not it is valuable for the human species, is more debatable. If forced to guess, I think not. If that fourth horsemen, still rode as well as he once did, we would not have global warming etc. to the extent we do.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I should have thought that appreciating the Earth is not flat has been pretty vital for navigators, has it not? How could we have made accurate maps and how could we have determined the position of ships by reference to measurements of the sun and of chronometers, if we did not know the shape of the Earth and its motion in relation to the heavenly bodies? If it has been vital to navigators, it has been vital to sea trade and communication, for hundreds of years. Fairly important, I'd have thought. Or would you dispute that, too?

    But I'm now not clear what exactly you are arguing. You seem to be trying to drive a wedge of some kind between the acquisition of knowledge and the exploitation of that knowledge. It is true I suppose that knowledge starts to acquire the most tangible sort of value to humanity as it is exploited, rather than as it is gained. However I would contend that humanity sees the acquisition of knowledge as something of value in itself. Humans are curious about their world and this enquiring curiosity is the basic intelligence that has driven the progress of the human race, isn't it? I would venture to suggest that the moment we stop seeing intrinsic value in knowing things is the moment we are doomed to intellectual stasis and stupidity.
     
  8. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I don't think the fact of germs causing illness is necessarily valuable in itself. What makes that fact of value is the use of practices like medicine and hygene make of it. Without that knowing I'm sick because of a germ doesn't really benefit me at all.
     
  9. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    how would you start a fire ?
     
  10. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    how did they figure out this " culture " ?
     
  11. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    contradicting funny .
     
  12. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    except it is true. as we will all see the more you type.
    except what comes out of your mouth shows otherwise.
     
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Given the proximity to apocalypse, even the salvation market might be under-thrilled about its immense surge in customers. [Or at least any cynicism-warranted operations whose profits seem seldom funneled into local and international aid; and the resident evangelical "superstar" frequently fends-off litigation from distraught secretaries and battered escorts, parents of potentially violated boys, etc.]
     
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "You learned in school that Christopher Columbus sailed from Spain in 1492 and crossed the Atlantic Ocean, disproving a common belief in those days that the Earth was flat, then the lesson was wrong.

    Historians say there is no doubt that the educated in Columbus’s day knew quite well that the Earth was not flat but round. In fact, this was known many centuries earlier.

    As early as the sixth century B.C., Pythagoras — and later Aristotle and Euclid — wrote about the Earth as a sphere. Ptolemy wrote “Geography” at the height of the Roman Empire, 1,300 years before Columbus sailed, and considered the idea of a round planet as fact.

    Columbus himself owned a copy. For him, the big question was not the shape of the Earth but the size of the ocean he wanted to cross.

    During the early Middle Ages, it is true that many Europeans succumbed to rumor and started believing that they lived on a flat Earth.

    But Islamic countries knew better and preserved the Greek learning. By the late Middle Ages, Europe had caught up and in some cases surpassed the knowledge of ancient Greece and medieval Islam.

    Several books published in Europe between 1200 and 1500 discussed the Earth’s shape, including “The Sphere,” written in the early 1200s, which was required reading in European universities in the 1300s and beyond. It was still in use 500 years after it was penned."===http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...-a-flat-earth/2011/10/10/gIQAXszQaL_blog.html

    I'm merely distinguishing between fact based knowledge and the purposeful actions that utilize that knowledge. Just as someone who uses science for bad doesn't mean science is bad, so does someone using science for good mean science is good. If someone comes up with an idea of how to use gene theory 100 years after Mendel, that's certainly giving it value. But of itself the mere fact that genes exist doesn't have any moral value. Value in knowledge must be guided by an intuition of relevance for that knowledge. That's why scientists get funded more in some studies than in others. Because society has an expectation of using the results in some way. How much funding goes into baldness cures vice embryonic ear lobe formation? It's why research in curing impotence far exceeds research in say photosynthesis.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  15. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    and what would that be ?
     
  16. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    was this supposed to mean something ?
     
  17. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    correct. this topic is designed to do nothing but insult.
     
  18. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    you mean like this topic ?
     
  19. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    for feeble, low level minded individuals, yes.
     
  20. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I think that MR's right, that some people here on Sciforums do appear to me to have fallen prey to scientism. The way that MR was personally attacked for starting a blasphemous thread like this one speaks to it. Science is a pursuit where the relevant values are truth and falsity, yet somehow good and evil have found their way into the conversation. MR is perceived as being anti-Science, as if that was analogous to being anti-Christ. People seem to suppose that science is what gives meaning to personal and social life, that it's the compass that allows us to distinguish beteeen right and wrong, and that it offers humanity the promise of some kind of future apotheosis akin to salvation.

    Here's how I defined 'scientism' in an earlier post:

    "I would define 'scientism' as the idea that the only legitimate intellectual methods in all realms of life are the methods employed by the natural sciences. In other words, all other areas of intellectual life should model themselves on the natural sciences and are only intellectually respectable to the extent that they do so.

    MR seems to have been using the word 'scientism' in another closely related sense, to refer to the idea that many people have entertained since the 18th century that science can and should be what give direction and meaning to individual and social life. It was the fundamental doctrine of faith in the so-called 'Age of Reason' that if the rest of human life could only be organized on the same basis as Newtonian physics, then the Earth could be transformed into a paradise. Religious 'obscurantism' and political 'old regimes' would finally be swept aside and replaced by utopian social engineering. It was this vision and this program that motivated the 19th century development of the so-called 'social sciences'."

    MR seems to me to be questioning whether science has made contemporary life any more meaningful, whether people are any more happy, satisfied or fulfilled, than was typical in ancient Greece. We know more, true. (At least as a culture, perhaps not individually.) We have many more 'modern conveniences' that few of us would want to give up. (The 'desert island' argument.) But are modern conveniences, is making life ever-easier, really what gives 'progress' its direction? Is it humanity's goal?

    If we talk to scientific researchers, they will often talk about knowledge for its own sake as their motivation. I feel that very strongly myself. Unfortunately, much of the knowledge that science produces doesn't seem tremendously inspiring. That seems to have been MR's point about astronomy. Most of the stars in the Sun's vicinity are relatively small and dim M-class stars. While that might be very significant knowledge to specialists, it isn't going to change the life of anyone down at the supermarket. In science-fiction, it's often imagined that very old alien races near the end of their journeys possess the 'secrets of the universe'. (Which typically turn out to be answers to philosophical questions, not strictly scientific ones.) This kind of vision transforms science into a form of gnosis, where the goal is attaining knowledge of the cosmic mysteries, knowledge which is presumed to be transformative, somehow.

    Is saying these kind of things "anti-science"? Perhaps it only seems that way if people have an exaggerated and unrealistic idea of what science is and of the role that it plays in human life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  21. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    this is just my opinion, but philosophy fails due to anthropocentric thinking.*

    *anthropocentric-from point of view of humankind: seeing things in human terms, especially judging things according to human perceptions, values, and experiences
     
  22. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    unfortunately, facts do not need value by humans.
     
  23. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

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    except the point is to discover and develop ways so we are not sitting ducks.
     
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