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Science is a religion?


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Science is a religion?

In the article How To Defend Society Against Science”, Paul Feyerabend says that science is a religion because the science is taught through dogmas, and not as it should be, that is, through critical analysis and skepticism. Is this true? What are the examples of scientific authoritarianism these days?

Thank you. Excuse me if I have written something wrong. My English is terrible.

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Yes, if and only if you define religion as the following:

• An ideology that rests on certain dogmas that cannot be rationally justified.

• a philosophically naïveté that cannot justify its methodology.

The arguments against science have to do with Karl Popper's failed falsification programme (thanks to Duhem-Quine contextualism) and Kuhn's paradigm arguments from the history of science in the Structure of Scientific Revolution.

Therefore, science is closer to the failed ideology of religion than an epistemological ideal.

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Says dogma as meaning axiom? Then, because the axioms science is a religion? But the level of faith required to believe the science is not negligible near the other religions? What could we have without axioms?

And more,

it is not certain that science can only be refuted by science? Or rather, all the great theories that have fallen in reality were not supplanted by other scientific theories and not by any other type of statement?

Thank you.

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Posted

Science is a religion?

In the article How To Defend Society Against Science”, Paul Feyerabend says that science is a religion because the science is taught through dogmas, and not as it should be, that is, through critical analysis and skepticism. Is this true? What are the examples of scientific authoritarianism these days?

To respond to the assigned questions, at least initially you would need to concentrate on the teaching issue in the first question. That is what leads to the second question. More specifically, you might want to consider the difference between science as it is taught and science as it is undertaken.

Says dogma as meaning axiom? Then, because the axioms science is a religion? But the level of faith required to believe the science is not negligible near the other religions? What could we have without axioms?

And more,

it is not certain that science can only be refuted by science? Or rather, all the great theories that have fallen in reality were not supplanted by other scientific theories and not by any other type of statement?

What are the axioms of science which you have in mind? How do you distinguish those axioms from religious axioms? Assuming that refutation is properly part of science, can science refute anything which is not science?

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Posted (edited)

More specifically, you might want to consider the difference between science as it is taught and science as it is undertaken.

in how it is taught, I agree. And this can be justified by the fact that it would be impossible to experience all statements in a science classroom.

but about how it is understood, it can be said that it is understood as a religion?

How do you distinguish those axioms from religious axioms?

They are two belief systems based on a set of axioms, right? One of them, science, has such inferences derived from axioms and which can be verified and tested, the other has inferences that require as much faith as requiring its own axioms, ie, all its conclusions are sustained by faith.

Assuming that refutation is properly part of science, can science refute anything which is not science?

Yes, it does frequently. The argument that it does not do is based on tendentious observation that only takes into account the examples where it has not refuted, because, in cases where it did, they began to incorporate science. That is, is the result of bias that arises when we look only for things it has not refuted and concluded: "Well, it seems that science did not refute anything."

Every time that any kind of mysticism found itself worthy to opine about the functioning of the natural world, science readily confirmed the case (rarely), refuted, or classified it as not concluded.

Edited by Rafael patropi

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Before I continue, I have a question for you, Rafael Patropi: did you read Feyerabend's article?

Some of your questions are more about the content of the article than about further clarification.

Says dogma as meaning axiom?

No. Dogma is a set of beliefs or doctrine that are established as indubitable truth. In other words, dogma is a belief that cannot be doubted.

An axiom is a premise, or a starting point in reasoning, and traditionally, it's a self-evident premise.

Basically the difference between the two is that dogma is taught as fundamental truth, whereas axioms are formally assumed as self-evident truth. One is recognized as part of reasoning, the other is assumed to be true without investigation.

Then, because the axioms science is a religion?

No, because science is taught as a dogma, it is similar to religion.

One dogma is the belief in a universal scientific method. There isn't one that applies in all scientific disciplines.

But the level of faith required to believe the science is not negligible near the other religions? What could we have without axioms?

Actually, the level of faith required to believe in the science one is taught at school and the universities is the same as that of religion.

Again, dogmatic belief is not the same as postulating axioms or formal premises in an argument. Dogma is assumed prior to argumentation.

it is not certain that science can only be refuted by science? Or rather, all the great theories that have fallen in reality were not supplanted by other scientific theories and not by any other type of statement?

Actually, there is no "science" that refutes "science." That is because there is no ideal science that progresses cumulatively with permanent core principles, and theories on the periphery are edited by new information. This is mere scientific propaganda you are taught during high school.

Do your homework and read Karl Popper's Conjectures and Refutations, as well as Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

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More specifically, you might want to consider the difference between science as it is taught and science as it is undertaken.

in how it is taught, I agree. ... but about how it is understood, it can be said that it is understood as a religion?

If science can be taught similar to the manner in which a religion is taught, can the practice or performance of science also be similar to the practice or performance of a religion?

... science, has such inferences derived from axioms and which can be verified and tested, the other has inferences that require as much faith as requiring its own axioms, ie, all its conclusions are sustained by faith.

Faith can be tested in different ways, but let us say - even if only for the sake of this discussion - that the testing to which religious thinking is subjected is neither as clearly nor as often verified as is scientific thinking. One thing which this indicates about the use of the term faith is that it indicates a persistence, a perseverance in holding to a way of thinking despite there being as of yet a lack of the sort of verification which satisfies science. Of course, within science, there have been countless occasions of individuals persistently holding to positions not only in the absence of verification but also when those positions seemed to have been falsified.

This then suggests considering what might possibly be a key - if not the key - difference between science and religion: Is science necessarily restricted to contexts wherein verification is possible whereas (what we are referring to as) religion is not similarly restricted?

But what would that mean in principle, and what would it mean in practice?

The sort of verification which science seeks depends upon the concept and the fact of determinateness (see the essay The Importance of Nonsense for some further discussion of this matter). That being the case, it is well arguable that the legitimacy of science (and the statements it produces) derives ultimately from the determinateness of what science investigates. Of course, prior to investigation, it is impossible for science practitioners to be aware of whether or not the matter to be investigated is an actually determinate matter to which any scientific practice has (or will ever have) sufficient access.

But, then, what is it that qualifies an investigation as "scientific"? Is it largely that the investigators make it clear that they are starting from some facts, theories, or hypotheses which have already gained wide acceptance within the community of recognized science practitioners? Such a situation brings up the question of whether science itself seeks to be distinguishable in kind - and not just by degrees - from the other activities which can be studied as matters of sociology.

Be that as it may, both science and religion are faced with the question of whether there is anything about reality which is not a matter of mind-independent determinateness.

Every time that any kind of mysticism found itself worthy to opine about the functioning of the natural world, science readily confirmed the case (rarely), refuted, or classified it as not concluded.

It is commonly asserted that science concerns itself with "the functioning of the natural world". But is this actually the case? Take for example, Sean Carroll's essay "Physics and the Immortality of the Soul" which Jerry Coyne (problematically) summarizes in this way: "physicist Sean Carroll claims that we already know enough to dismiss the idea of an immortal soul as a scientific possibility (that is, a thing that has a real existence)". More central to Carroll's essay is the notion that if there were there such a thing as a soul, and were the soul a supernatural thing which acted in or upon the world, then it would leave (presumably natural) traces, but, as Carroll says (even if he does not mean it literally or fully), "the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood" and science has the Dirac equation at its disposal to demonstrate that there is no room for a soul to have an effect on electrons.

Now, Carroll's essay is intended as a work of pop-science; nevertheless, to the extent that it is appropriate to regard it as any sort of science, it is rather misleading to say that this sort of science is properly defined in terms of a concern "about the functioning of the natural world" since according to this sort of science all there is to reality is physical functioning and only that which in principle can be explained physically is real.

Only those who persist in having the most superficial possible understanding of what religion is would think that this sort of science is significantly distinguishable from religion.

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Posted (edited)

Before I continue, I have a question for you, Rafael Patropi: did you read Feyerabend's article?

the reason why I made such questionamentes is because they came soon as I read this article. Respond them saying that I should read more (of my homework) does not help me, nor my questions become less deserving of answers - though I thank the hint and recognize my lack of expertise. Moreover, it seems to me a way of saying that I do not possess the minimum knowledge needed to wage a discussion with "those who read Kunh", thus creating an environment of confabulation of those share the same opnion and expels those who disagree, reducing Board meeting a banal people who speak the same things, in different ways, rather than lead to a synthesis encouraged by mutual and constructive criticism. What hurts and contradicts the philosophy of Popper himself, that we should be completely open to criticism and ready to encourage ourselves to get closest to the truth. we need to stop behave ourselves like lawyers! haha

No, because science is taught as a dogma, it is similar to religion.

One dogma is the belief in a universal scientific method. There isn't one that applies in all scientific disciplines

we must content ourselves with the knowledge conjectural. both science and religion are sets of assumptions. or rather: Representations of fact, such as a map is a representation of a place. Among these two representations, I believe that a set of testable conjectures (science) plus an error correction method is the safest way to achieve the most accurate representation. In short, you'd better put it this way: "the set of dogmas which we choose so that we can apply a metode error correction and minimize the amount of erroneous conclusions?"

Actually, there is no "science" that refutes "science." That is because there is no ideal science that progresses cumulatively with permanent core principles, and theories on the periphery are edited by new information. This is mere scientific propaganda you are taught during high school.

I did not mean that science evolves gradually toward truth. I know there were times when some paradigms shattered. But what I meant earlier is that the new paradigm created to support the new scientific view is, by definition, scientific, supported by scientists and very different from anything derived from visions, scriptures or so. Accordingly, in this sense that I mentioned, science is refuted by science.

Do your homework and read Karl Popper's Conjectures and Refutations, as well as Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

this is not the kind of rhetoric that I expect to find in someone who is trying to convince me that knowledge can not be obtained through a general formula. Indeed, it is precisely the kind of rhetoric that I expect to find in someone who has no doubt that is right. but maybe I'm wrong, so I will read them as soon as possible.

Edited by Rafael patropi

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the reason why I made such questionamentes is because they came soon as I read this article. Respond them saying that I should read more (of my homework) does not help me, nor my questions become less deserving of answers - though I thank the hint and recognize my lack of expertise. Moreover, it seems to me a way of saying that I do not possess the minimum knowledge needed to wage a discussion with "those who read Kunh", thus creating an environment of confabulation of those share the same opnion and expels those who disagree, reducing Board meeting a banal people who speak the same things, in different ways, rather than lead to a synthesis encouraged by mutual and constructive criticism. What hurts and contradicts the philosophy of Popper himself, that we should be completely open to criticism and ready to encourage ourselves to get closest to the truth. we need to stop behave ourselves like lawyers! haha

Feyerabend held positions that are dependent on background knowledge -- many theories that require familiarity, which means they're contextual. That means the questions you pose require background knowledge in the philosophy of science as well as the history of science, which means you need to do your homework.

Also, the questions you pose forecloses the answer you seek in advance. Your juxtaposition of science and religion betrays your incredulity and vested belief in some ideal picture of science peddled by our propaganda writers.

we must content ourselves with the knowledge conjectural. both science and religion are sets of assumptions. or rather: Representations of fact, such as a map is a representation of a place. Among these two representations, I believe that a set of testable conjectures (science) plus an error correction method is the safest way to achieve the most accurate representation. In short, you'd better put it this way: "the set of dogmas which we choose so that we can apply a metode error correction and minimize the amount of erroneous conclusions?"

metode is "method" I assume? If you meant a method that tests conjectures and a correcting mechanisms that filters representations, then this is falsification. Karl Popper proposed it as a litmus test for scientific theory in the early 20th century. So did many other theorists like Carnap with verificationism, and so forth.

I did not mean that science evolves gradually toward truth. I know there were times when some paradigms shattered. But what I meant earlier is that the new paradigm created to support the new scientific view is, by definition, scientific, supported by scientists and very different from anything derived from visions, scriptures or so. Accordingly, in this sense that I mentioned, science is refuted by science.

Actually, "science refuted by science" is the same as "science evolving towards the truth." It seems to me that you're trying to say that science before Kuhn is the same as science after Kuhn. This is, of course, false.

[this is not the kind of rhetoric that I expect to find in someone who is trying to convince me that knowledge can not be obtained through a general formula. Indeed, it is precisely the kind of rhetoric that I expect to find in someone who has no doubt that is right. but maybe I'm wrong, so I will read them as soon as possible.

Enlightenment will come through careful reading and studying, not from discussing with a philosophisticator on the internet about Feyerabend. :eyebrows:

After you finish with Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, then read Imre Lakatos' Scientific Research Programmes and Feyerabend's Against Method.

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Posted (edited)

Enlightenment will come through careful reading and studying, not from discussing with a philosophisticator on the internet about Feyerabend. :eyebrows:

After you finish with Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, then read Imre Lakatos' Scientific Research Programmes and Feyerabend's Against Method.

Karl Popper, the conference selected for "in search of a better world" (I do not know if the English version have that name), does not seem to be very strict in their attempt to "demote" science. But anyway, I'll look for these books as soon as possible because I want to start my philosophy course next year.

And sorry for my spelling errors.

Edited by Rafael patropi

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Posted (edited)

Karl Popper, the conference selected for "in search of a better world" (I do not know if the English version have that name), does not seem to be very strict in their attempt to "demote" science. But anyway, I'll look for these books as soon as possible because I want to start my philosophy course next year. And sorry for my spelling errors.

Excellent, that you are starting philosophy next year.

Here at the Galilean Library, our esteemed founder Hugo Holbling has written a series of essays on the philosophy of science.

I recommend them, as well as the classic works I suggested earlier, starting with the essay on Falsificationism.

Also, try some of the other essays, such as:

The rest of them are listed here in one place. They are supplemental to the primary sources that you must read.

Edited by The Heretic
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