Adapted for the Internet from:

Why God Doesn't Exist
Relativists believe that
Science is about
predicting and falsifying

    1.0   The consequences of poor definitions

    The word science comes from the Latin scire meaning to know, and most dictionaries define it as:

    “ the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and
      theoretical explanation of phenomena.” [1]

    However, some people fell uncomfortable with this definition because it restricts science to the physical sciences (astronomy,
    geology) or the biological sciences (zoology, botany), [2] [3] sometimes called ‘empirical sciences.(In contrast, the ‘formal
    sciences’ encompass Mathematics and formal logic.) Siepmann  [4] complains that experimentation summarily excludes
    certain fields of study such as the social sciences, history, psychology, archeology, and environmental studies. He asks,
    “aren't these still Science?” On the other hand, there is also concern that this definition of science is perhaps too broad and
    incorporates astrology, creationism, UFO-logy, or out-of-body/after life phenomena, subjects which scientists typically dismiss
    as superstition or religion. So how do we define science in such a selective way as to include the humanities and social
    sciences while leaving out phenomena and activities usually associated with the supernatural?

    Endless debates between religionists and scientists also suggest that this definition of science is inadequate. Certainly, the
    ultimate reason we are still debating whether Evolution and Creationism qualify as science is because we have not defined the
    word science unambiguously. For instance, Gould [5]  declares Evolution to be among the best-documented concepts in all of
    science. He suggests that Evolution is not just as theory, but should be accepted as a universally recognized fact. Thompson
    and Harrub [6]  accuse Gould of stealthily promoting Evolution from theory to fact to gain the high ground in the discussion.
    Demar, [7]  a determined opponent of Evolution, argues that the alleged ‘fact’ Gould talks about does not even meet the minimum
    standards of the scientific method. Evolution has never been observed and cannot be reproduced experimentally; therefore, it is
    unconscionable to sell Evolution as science in the classroom.

    Rennie admits that evolution is largely based on inference, but clarifies that:

    “ hypotheses can still be tested by checking whether they accord with physical
      evidence and whether they lead to verifiable predictions about future disco-
      veries.” [8]

    In science 'theory' is reserved for a general explanation of phenomena that have
      been extensively tested and corroborated by observation and experimentation
      and has a high probability of being correct. [9]

    Siepmann argues that whenever experimentation is involved it is not archeology or history or evolution that we are testing, but
    physics:

    “ Some may say that in archeology, we use carbon-14 dating (or similar process)
      which does follow the scientific method. Though archeology does utilize some
      aspects of other sciences that do follow the scientific method, this is archeo-
      logy's use of physics. It is the physics that is following the scientific method in
      this case, not archeology.” [4]

    So who is right? The Darwinists, the Creationists, the devil’s advocates…?

    These exchanges show that unless we define the key words science, hypothesis, and fact precisely and settle whether
    hypotheses, facts, and experiments are necessary ingredients of the scientific method we will be talking in circles until God
    comes to Earth again. The reason these arguments are still around has to do solely with poor communication.


    2.0   Is science a process that enables us to explain or predict nature?

    Feynman and Cline argue that the word science has more to do with the mechanism by which we obtain knowledge and not so
    much with the knowledge we have accumulated over the years. In their view, Science is a synonym of the inductive method: an
    eternal process of revisionism. If we follow the proper procedure, we will debunk or modify what others have allegedly
    discovered and attain or improve our knowledge:

    “ science: the result of the discovery that it is worthwhile rechecking by new
      direct experience, and not necessarily trusting the [human] race['s] experience
      from the past.”[10]

    “ Distinguishing modern science from other endeavors requires focusing in
      particular on its methodology — the means by which it achieves results…
      knowledge includes both descriptions of what happens and explanations
      of why it happens”  [11]

    Bohr disagrees with the 'why' part of Cline’s argument. In his opinion, scientists will never be able to explain. The purpose of
    Science is either to describe or to predict:

    “ There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think
      that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what
      we can say about nature.” [12]

    a scientific theory is just a mathematical model we make to describe our
      observations (p. 139) [13]

    Niels Bohr emphasized that science is concerned with predictions of the
      outcomes of experiments, and that any additional propositions offered are
      not scientific but rather meta-physical. [14]

    A layman might ask a physicist What is charge? or What is Time?. He will be
      disappointed when the physicist replies that his theories do not even try to
       explain what these things are. Theories are just mathematical models which
       make predictions about how they will behave in experiments. [15]

    We must determine, then, whether a description alone constitutes Science.

    Like Bohr, other experts also identify Science with the scientific method – a process or technique for evaluating empirical
    knowledge. [16]  And, like Cline, they believe that only through knowing why events occur is it that we can predict what is
    going to happen next.  Popper  proposed that Science progresses by a process of elimination. Theories that are empirically  
    falsified  get dumped in the ash heap of history. Others continue and form the body of current knowledge until they suffer the
    same fate. We have to decide, then, whether the terms Science and the scientific method are synonyms and whether predictions
    and falsification have anything to do with either.


    3.0   Is science democratic?

    Science is also often used to refer to the Establishment, an elite group of ‘peers’ that decide whether you know or not:

    “ science is often used to refer to the community of scientists and researchers
      who do scientific work. It is this group of people who, through practicing
      science, effectively define what science is and how science is done.” [17]

    “ Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” R. Feynman

    In other words, if you discover a genuine secret of nature and the scholars massively vote against it, your stuff does not qualify
    as Science. Indeed, most researchers have this notion in the back of their minds that quantity somehow plays a roll in Science.
    Schwartz [18] attempts to convince his audience by preponderance of the evidence and claims to follow the scientific method
    when he invokes the spirits of the dead in a series of controlled experiments. Hyman [19]  accuses him of focusing on quantity
    rather than on quality. He dismisses Schwartz’s methods on grounds that they contain flaws in the conduct of the experiments
    and in the gathering, interpretation, and presentation of the data. Braude [20]  sides with Schwartz and insists that skeptics
    blatantly ignore the mounting evidence. In his view, countless such ‘spiritual’ incidents constitute scientific proof that life-after-
    death and out-of-body phenomena are real.

    These heated exchanges make it imperative to decide whether witnesses and juries play any role in Science. Is a show of
    hands, quantity of evidence, or testimony relevant to Science? If so, should the Court apply the ‘preponderance of the evidence’
    standard applicable in civil cases or go with Rennie’s ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ criterion used in criminal cases?

    In a world where the number of opinions seems to rise in proportion to population, if we are to talk consistently about a particular
    subject (let alone reach a decision), it would be in the interest of all parties to begin by rigorously defining the words that serve
    as currency in the discussion. The more accurate our definitions, the better we communicate and understand each other.
    Specifically, we should develop a definition of science that:

           distinguishes between ordinary speech and scientific language
           accounts for the humanities while distancing science from pseudo or patently
    non-science.

    So? What then is Science? How do we define this mysterious word? Should we accept the two inconsistent definitions
    synthesized in one sentence by the experts?

    “ In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge
      based on empiricism, experimentation, and methodological naturalism, as
      well as to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such
      research.”  [21]

    The former is a mechanism for learning about nature and the latter has to do with storing this information. They have nothing
    in common. So which is it?

    I argue that the first half of this definition has nothing to do with Science or with the scientific method. The idiots of the
    establishment have confused one with the other because of their fanatic and irrational insistence on experimentation and
    falsifiability. So let me say it bluntly: There are no experiments in Science! Whether you ran an experiment to prove your theory
    is irrelevant in Science. Science has to do with communication; not with experimentation.
Science is about making
predictions. Whenever I want to
do a little bit of science, I just look
into my crystal ball to see what the
future brings. You'd be surprised
how accurate it can foretell the
results of experiments, Bill.



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        Copyright © by Nila Gaede 2008