Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

coberst
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by coberst »

Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Natural science clears the land before it builds its structures. NATURAL SCIENCE IS BULLDOZIER might be a useful linguistic metaphor for comprehending how the natural sciences function.

The first thing that a Normal Science (as defined by Thomas Kuhn) does is create a paradigm, which is to say that the bulldozer comes in and clears the land of all obstructions and establishes a foundation upon the solid rock of “measurement by standards”. If it cannot be properly measured in accordance to an established paradigm it does not exist. Since emotion, feeling, and meaning cannot be so measured then such things must be removed.

Only the measurable and the commodified are meaningful in the land of the natural and economic sciences.

This habit of removing all the things that do not fit the science has allowed the natural and economic sciences to be very productive in the human competition with Mother Nature. But I claim that this success, obtained by eliminating considerations based upon human meaning, comes at a heavy price.

The science of economics has emulated the natural sciences and has reaped great successes as a result; if one does not take into consideration the human, social, and ecological costs of such sciences one can be deluded into bulldozing aside all considerations of human meaning as we construct our high tech society.

In his book The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time Karl Polanyi argues that a self-regulating market economy requires “that human beings and the natural environment be turned into pure commodities, which assures the destruction of both society and the natural environment…the definition of a commodity is something that has been produce for sale on a market…land, labor, and money are fictitious commodities because they were not produced for sale on a market…Modern economics starts by pretending that these fictitious commodities will behave in the same way as real commodities…economic theorizing is based on a lie, and this lie places human society at risk.”
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

Don't take this the wrong way, it's not a slight but this got me thinking (as so much does these days) of the purpose of life.

Now I don't want to drive your metaphorical bulldozer through this thread Chuck and it's clear that that isn't what your post is about. It's just that I have to put my somewhat simplistic take on this - the economy should be serving us and not the other way around.

Science is a function which serves us in a neutral manner, we decide how to apply the discoveries.

The study of human behaviour which is given the name "economics" is similar in the sense that (from the very little I know of it) it essentially explains human behaviours but it also is able to be used in much the same way as the study of the physical sciences. I sometimes wonder if university students who are studying economics (broad statement I know) are learning or being indoctrinated.
coberst
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by coberst »

The natural sciences brush aside that which cannot be "measured" with standard "scientific" methods. That technique works well for such matters as the natural sciences deal with. However, there are vitally important matters that cannot use such techniques and to ignore them is to endanger the human species and perhaps all life on this planet.

I place the words 'measured' and 'scientific' in quotes because these words are, for the naive, distorted by the cult of Science. This distortion is dangerous and must be challenged so that DickandJane can begin the task of becoming more intellectually sophisticated.

New theories in the natural sciences are quickly examined and enter the culture when determined to be useful because there is often money to be made. Unfortunately new theories in the human sciences take generations to reach such cultural acceptance. That is why our human understanding lags far behind our use of technology. Darwin advises us that the species that cannot adapt fast enough will become toast.
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Bill Sikes
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Bill Sikes »

coberst;1317730 wrote: Darwin advises us that the species that cannot adapt fast enough will become toast.


And yet progress in human evolution has very largely stopped over the last 50 years or so - and the brakes are still being applied. It could be, however, that science gives adaptation a huge and rather unpredictable kick in the next few years.
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

coberst;1317730 wrote: The natural sciences brush aside that which cannot be "measured" with standard "scientific" methods. That technique works well for such matters as the natural sciences deal with. However, there are vitally important matters that cannot use such techniques and to ignore them is to endanger the human species and perhaps all life on this planet.

I place the words 'measured' and 'scientific' in quotes because these words are, for the naive, distorted by the cult of Science. This distortion is dangerous and must be challenged so that DickandJane can begin the task of becoming more intellectually sophisticated.

New theories in the natural sciences are quickly examined and enter the culture when determined to be useful because there is often money to be made. Unfortunately new theories in the human sciences take generations to reach such cultural acceptance. That is why our human understanding lags far behind our use of technology. Darwin advises us that the species that cannot adapt fast enough will become toast.


From philosophy came science as we know it, I'm pretty sure of that. Now, to be a bit unphilosophical and unscientific, it seems to me that philosophy (before science broke from it) was disciplined mental speculation, but very sophisticated speculation. It accepted all forms of interpretation so as to work towards "truth" (put it in quotes because we know "truth" is an inflammable idea). It took all the "-isms" and allowed the proponents to slug it out in that well known forum, "the marketplace of ideas". And, as far as I know the "-isms" are still slugging it out, some falling out of the competition, new ones joining all the time. But in science I think the speculative "-isms" have gone AWOL. The "scientific method" as we know it is pretty robust but I fully accept that all current paradigms - and by that I mean more than the Kuhnian form, I'm also referring to Popperian falsifiability and other views if they exist - could be tossed out of the lab window. Science which is dogmatic (eg Lysenkoism and its now risible emphasis on dialectical materialism in nature) or political (see previous offhand comments re Lysenko) is not science in its proper sense (so says me anyway).

The antidote, as you have pointed out, here and elsewhere, is critical thinking.
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

Bill Sikes;1317735 wrote: And yet progress in human evolution has very largely stopped over the last 50 years or so - and the brakes are still being applied. It could be, however, that science gives adaptation a huge and rather unpredictable kick in the next few years.


Lamarck may yet be right, but I think evolution needs a bit more time Bill. Humans are incredibly inventive, adaptive, destructive, stupid, intelligent, contrarian animals. We don't progress so much as spark off like a Catherine Wheel (aside - what is it with me and references to pyrotechnics? It's not even close to November).
coberst
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by coberst »

Bill Sikes;1317735 wrote: And yet progress in human evolution has very largely stopped over the last 50 years or so - and the brakes are still being applied. It could be, however, that science gives adaptation a huge and rather unpredictable kick in the next few years.


The process of natural selection requires many generations to effect a change. Since humans require on average about 25 years for each generation we might expect natural selection to change us in any significant way would require at least hundreds of generations, perhaps several thousands of years at least.

We might change dramatically due to unnatural selection, i.e. selection due to technology, much faster.
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

Was listening to a podcast (gone podcast nuts I have, downloading mp3 podcasts from universities all over the world, particularly like the ones from the OU and the University of Bath) about genetic "adaptation". I suppose "manipulation" is a better word but it made me think. But then I remember also thinking that science fiction has been on about this for years. The thinkers/writers imagine and speculate and dream and the scientists and technologists strive to make those ideas happen. And I do think it will happen, after all while things such as vaccination can't do a Lamarck we have, since Jenner, adopted the process of vaccination as necessary for us to protect ourselves from various virii and that involves some sort of genetic change in an individual surely. Anyway could be wrong on that because of my ignorance on the topic and would be grateful for correction on the science.
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Bill Sikes
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Bill Sikes »

coberst;1317858 wrote: The process of natural selection requires many generations to effect a change.


But we are no longer generally subject to change by natural selection, and have not been for a century or three. For the human race, natural selection is over.



coberst;1317858 wrote: We might change dramatically due to unnatural selection, i.e. selection due to technology, much faster.


That, obviously, was the point of my post. However, at the moment, the human race is at a standstill in terms of development - only a particular model of person is normally allowed.
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

Bill Sikes;1317862 wrote: But we are no longer generally subject to change by natural selection, and have not been for a century or three. For the human race, natural selection is over.





That, obviously, was the point of my post. However, at the moment, the human race is at a standstill in terms of development - only a particular model of person is normally allowed.


Is it Bill? Or is it so slow that mere mortals, with our brief lifespans, aren't able to see it?
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Bill Sikes
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Bill Sikes »

Royd Fissure;1318036 wrote: Is it Bill? Or is it so slow that mere mortals, with our brief lifespans, aren't able to see it?


I think that trends over the last 50 years - admittedly a tiny period in terms of the hundreds of thousands (maybe more) of "unaided" human development - coupled with scientific development, mean that our efforts will outweigh by *far* nature's ones (unless you want to get all philosophical about "Engineers of our own ...." and that this is dictated by nature).
Royd Fissure
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Natural Science “don allow no meaning in here”!

Post by Royd Fissure »

Bill Sikes;1318042 wrote: I think that trends over the last 50 years - admittedly a tiny period in terms of the hundreds of thousands (maybe more) of "unaided" human development - coupled with scientific development, mean that our efforts will outweigh by *far* nature's ones (unless you want to get all philosophical about "Engineers of our own ...." and that this is dictated by nature).


I am probably missing the point here but let me put up a sort of thought experiment ands see where it goes.

Let's say Usain Bolt has a son. What are the chances of his son inheriting the potential to develop into the sort of athlete that his famous father was (I'm using "was" because in this thought experiment Bolt has retired from competitive athletics)? I think the son's chances are pretty good but of course without working to achieve that potential he won't be anything like his dad.

Let's say Joe Blow gets himself bio-engineered so that he can perform as well as Usain Bolt in the 100m. Joe Blow retires and produces a son. What are the chances Joe's son inherits from Joe the characteristics that give him the potential to be an athlete like his father? I'd say zero because the characteristics are introduced into the father and are not genetic.

As I said, I could be completely and utterly off track.

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