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Back to “Science sez”? (What makes or privileges “scientific knowledge”?)

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It seems we cannot escape epistemological questions when we address ID issues. AK opens the squeaky-hinged door yet again in the US National Association of Scholars thread. My comment:

KF, 9: >>[AK,] I see your:

If they are published in reputable peer reviewed journals, they are scientific findings.

We need to distinguish key terms and address underlying issues on logic and warrant. Truth (following Ari who got it right) says of what is that it is and of what is not that it is not — accurate description of reality.

As potentially knowing, rational and responsible subjects, we face the challenge that we are finite, fallible, morally struggling (is is not ought) and too often ill-willed.

To credibly know objective truth we must move to warrant, that is knowledge in a relevant soft sense is warranted, credibly true and reliable belief. Belief highlighting that one or more subjects accepts it as so for good cause. Where, empirical claims are about the world we can experience, observe (and sometimes measure), in principle in common. And yes, I am using a soft sense of knowledge where there is an abstract possibility of error even in the face of credible conviction sufficient to responsibly ground acceptance and trust as reliable and accurate.

In this context, facts are well grounded, relatively accessible reliable knowledge claims rooted in experience and/or observation. They are not privileged beyond that.

Where, too, logic in large part is about the intellectual responsibilities of warrant, driven by certain first principles that are self-evident. For instance, at the heart of rationality is the distinction, A vs ~A. From distinct identity we instantly have the triple first principles of right reason,

LOI {A is A, itself, rooted in its core characteristics that mark it as distinct, for, world W = {A|~A}];

LEM (any distinct x in the world W will be A or else ~A, not neither or both, i.e. A X-OR ~A);

LNC (any x in W cannot be A AND ~A).

This also founds mathematics through establishing 1-ness [A] and 2-ness [A, with ~A is a pair], implying also 0-ness [e.g. an empty set, {}], thence the natural numbers etc and relevant structures. Math can be understood as the logic of structure and quantity.

Math is pivotal, as it is essential to science but is exactly an abstract, rationally contemplative responsible discipline that astonishingly applies to the world of common experience. This is a big clue about our nature as rational, responsible, morally governed creatures living in a world where IS and OUGHT must be bridged at world-root level. Yes, first philosophy and linked issues are also highly relevant. Indeed the discussion of knowledge above is a manifestation of epistemology in action. That we are studying things in a world also points to the logic of being and many linked considerations such as possible vs impossible being, contingent and necessary being, rationality and intelligibility of existence [and non-existence], cause and effect etc.

Going on, we are at the principle of grand coherence: reality exists all together, so all actually true descriptions are true together. That is, all actually true claims or descriptions will be true together.

No two truths x and y can be such that y = ~x.

This is a powerful test for extending and constraining the domain of knowledge. [And yes, I here allude to proofs by reductio ad absurdum of the alternative to a claim: C, to ~C. But ~C reduces to contradiction and self falsifies, so C.]

Now, too, we are speaking generally, there is here no privileging of any particular domain as authoritatively established knowledge that only a guild of the elites may warrant to be so. In principle, a little child may lead them in ANY domain of knowledge. That is, appeals to individual or collective expertise or authority are relativised. No authority — including the Scientific Establishment (and its proxies, the editorial board of a sufficiently prestigious journal, conference or PhD examination committee, etc) — is better than underlying facts, reasoning and assumptions. Including, worldview-level assumptions and ideological commitments.

In short, there is no distinctive domain, science, which has a privileged body of knowledge arrived at using a method unique to that praxis. This is the sense where Feyerabend’s anything goes is spot on. The issue in science is responsible warrant in empirical domains, not gatekeeper games. So, sciences and their methods will overlap considerably with other fields of responsible praxis. The school-level “scientific method” is more generic than is often given credit and it tends to under-emphasise the role of logic and epistemology as well as the delicate balance involved in peer review.

As a start, who are the relevant peers, why?

Those who dismissed the Semmelweis proposals on hand washing or those who overlooked the significance of a certain monk’s studies of the inheritance patterns of peas? What about the difference between manipulated data in those studies and those on Burt’s twins studies used to found educational policies? And much more.

In short, the gatekeeper games, demarcation gambit on science vs non-science, pseudo-science and even anti-science is itself dubious.

Let us instead adhere to responsible warrant.

On which grounds, it is easy to see that there are indeed well founded reliable signs that certain entities are the result of intelligently directed configuration. That is backed by a trillion member observation base and by needle in haystack search analysis.

In short, the design inference on observable signs is in fact legitimately and responsibly scientific.>>

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. END

2 Replies to “Back to “Science sez”? (What makes or privileges “scientific knowledge”?)

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Back to “Science sez”? (What makes or privileges “scientific knowledge”?)

  2. 2
    tribune7 says:

    It’s like a pagan priest saying this is what is (to our benefit and power) and you must not deny it or else.

    There are certain things were belief may be compelled — the meaning of a traffic signal, the value of currency — but to compel belief in something that can’t be demonstrated (evolution) is the sign of a cult.

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