We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

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We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 5th, 2016, 7:41 pm 

I'm tired of trying to discuss things 'scientific' when many of those who even have degrees these days make a demarcation that treats 'science' as the property of the Institutes and not of the public.

I propose reverting back to "Natural Philosophy" as the arbiter of intellectual area of inquiry that allows the public to 'own' the right to participate in the process we have not given over to 'science' as an institute. That is, I disagree with the way "science" has distinctly separated from Natural Philosophy by making anything not strictly of observation and the "empirical method" a prerequisite feature of today's science. It separates the function of LOGIC from pure OBSERVATION in a way that actually reverts to the favor towards another religion in the future.

The reasoning is based on how the institutionalized function of education becomes a commodity in its own right and tends towards creating "authority" to a priestly cast of select powers that diminish the means of the average person to qualify. And as the burden to participate gets further and further from the reaches of the average person, the authorities raised through the institutes begin to view the non-affiliated as morons and so revert to a "because-I-said-so" attitude that parents may use to justify using their power to their subordinates when they lack the capacity to explain with clear logic.

Sometimes this is just about practicality. If a parent believes they require too much time to address the question raised by their kid, but need ACTION, they find it more burdensome to be patient. But from the child's perspective, they rationally interpret their parent as demanding obedience when this occurs often. Then, as the child grows and learns to think independently, the more this attitude continues by their 'authorities', they begin to question whether such parents actually "know" why their authority is qualified at all.

This is the same thing I see occurring in today's science. The "because-I-said-so" corresponds with "because-science-has-proven-so" without those speaking it feeling the least responsible to relate to those they assert this to. It begs why SHOULD anyone bother gambling in a formal education when the front-line teachers merely dictate the realities in religious-like stories expected to be believed regardless of the lack of apparent logic?

What I think 'science' gets interpreted by insiders now does include logic and philosophy, but they treat these as privileged functions, not something others should be allowed to do without first trusting the clerically intense training involved to make one get USED to the process prior to a logical evolution in UNDERSTANDING. They focus on forcefully getting people to internalize the 'conclusions' first and only use what logic is necessary to be functionally adapted to the processes involved.

A Philosophic Doctorate (or Degree) places the "philosophy" at the end rather than up front. But what ends up happening is that those trained to get there are by then far too invested through that process to reflectively find anything wrong with it when it worked for them. So they continue to foster the way education 'evolves' into a more and more authoritative institute and not by the origins of intellect that they owe their allegiance too.

We need to go back to either removing the constitutionalism of scientific methodology that favors practicality to lead people blindly or broaden the spectrum of intellectual affairs to the philosophy that gave it birth. The latter enables those who can THINK to advance, not merely those who FOLLOW. The present paradigm just eventually creates better sheep and limits the means of those who could become good 'shepherds' by favoring more of those who believe in inherent rights to these positions.

Sorry for the long intro. My question then is whether you agree that "Science" should become more philosophically responsible UP FRONT, as the original "Natural Philosophy" might teach, rather than to fixate on demanding us 'trust' what we are told UNTIL we are formally 'accepted' to that privileged class of graduates at THE END?
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Paul Anthony on November 5th, 2016, 8:13 pm 

Specialized fields have moved further from the reach of the layman, partly because specialization in itself requires specialized knowledge. Gravity can be explained with a simple example involving a tree and an apple, but quantum physics...not so easy.

But there is also a tendency for those within a field to protect their status. This occurs in many fields, some not quite scientific. Anyone who has been out of school for awhile will find a conversation with their grandchild's teachers confusing. Educators have developed terminology they (presumably) understand, but that creates the impression that they know more than they do.

Lawyers speak "legalese" that's guaranteed to ensure most people will need to hire an attorney to review a simple contract.

The medical profession has its own language. Granted, some of it is Latin, but much of it seems to be intentionally designed to keep non-medical people confused. (A negative test result is good, but a positive one is bad?!?)

It is hubris on the part of people who are desperate to protect their "turf".
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby zetreque on November 5th, 2016, 8:33 pm 

I agree that far too much "science" is locked up in journals but so much can be obtained by anyone who wants to just go down and visit their nearest university library and get on the computer.

I think you are missing a couple things here.

First is that our knowledge in any one area has become so great that it can take more than a lifetime to get to that point. It takes a lot of time to obtain the knowledge to get to the point of understanding the boundaries or limits to our knowledge on certain topics. The scientific process we have right now allows for peer reviewed input as we work to push the boundaries.

Also, I am currently under the understanding that you don't have to go through a university to pubish a paper. Once I graduate I plan on publishing papers myself but I have not looked that deep into this. As long as you have enough knowledge to be able to speak the language of the greats, then you can get published by contributing in the same language.

Perhaps and analogy is how everyone used to have to learn Latin in order to participate in intellectual pursuits. Or how people need to learn English currently if they want to participating in global events. I'm not saying it's fair or has equality built in, but it has it's benefits.

I do also agree with you that scientists do a poor job bringing their work to the general public. However, many regularly give lectures to the general public and people can ask questions to understand. I attend them all the time. Some are horrible at communicating to the public and some are really great.

If you spend some time getting to know research methods and how it all operates, it's actually pretty amazing.

Your use of the word "demarcation" makes no sense in the first paragraph.

While I agree that science can be improved, I completely disagree that we need to revert to natural philosophy. It takes the reality out of education and advancement. Science takes a lot of hard labor with careful thought while philosophy is more on the mental side lacking labor in the real world testing our thoughts.

One way in which science can be improved to your liking is simply opening up education to everyone. I don't want to get into any debate about HOW certain politicians propose to fund free college for everyone, but if it were possible, doing so would certainly help open up the pursuit of knowledge to more people. It would alleviate your primary complaint of knowledge being privately held and privileged. Online education is helping do that as well.

Another part of this conversation which I will leave to a later time is who pays for funding of the science and do they have the right to own the results?
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Serpent on November 6th, 2016, 1:57 am 

What's stopping any layman from contemplating, learning or practicing "Natural philosophy"?
Science puts no obstacles or demarcations in your way. Science does nothing to you at all. It's a method used by people to learn about things. You can do science and you can do philosophy to your heart's content.

Of course, your opinion on specialized subjects will not be as valid as that of someone who has a lot more information, and has done it longer, better, and with more training. In science, you either have the relevant facts to back up a theory or you don't. In philosophy, you can make shit up. In Natural Philosophy, you just have to make sense according to the observable phenomena.

You can do that without disrupting the way professional scientists conduct their disciplines.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby BadgerJelly on November 6th, 2016, 2:16 am 

Scott -

It seems to me you are more concerned with the institutions not the method. Both science and philosophy in academic circles are withdrawn from the public domain to some degree or another.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 6th, 2016, 4:20 am 

Serpent » November 6th, 2016, 12:57 am wrote:What's stopping any layman from contemplating, learning or practicing "Natural philosophy"?
Science puts no obstacles or demarcations in your way. Science does nothing to you at all. It's a method used by people to learn about things. You can do science and you can do philosophy to your heart's content.

Of course, your opinion on specialized subjects will not be as valid as that of someone who has a lot more information, and has done it longer, better, and with more training. In science, you either have the relevant facts to back up a theory or you don't. In philosophy, you can make shit up. In Natural Philosophy, you just have to make sense according to the observable phenomena.

You can do that without disrupting the way professional scientists conduct their disciplines.

I've been on another site all night and just checked my email. I'll only respond to this at present before I turn in for the night.

If one teaches themselves, they approach learning in a bottom-up way usually because they aren't forced to the time limitations imposed through a structured formal training. But this is not necessarily a lessor means to learn but a more powerful one instead. And yet, you don't get the formal accreditation which may appear misleading. As such, defaulting to institutions biases favor to certain types of thinkers through them as to how one learns on their own.

I already DO have a lot invested in learning and continue to do so. Yet, if I have some question or idea I'd want to ask or propose to those in relative 'power' to those accredited, I'm expected to grovel or play dumb to those who think they are more wise for their qualification alone. It makes it difficult for certain kinds of thinking that is equally as necessary to the process of intellectual pursuits such as science.

Philosophy is not less relevant for scientific thinking but more. The narrowing of "science" to be more focused on the 'method' of strict observations, makes those going through that system think they are qualified to speak on the intellectual connections BETWEEN observations with better credibility when they miss the parts of Natural Philosophy that deal with logic. So many who 'learn' through the institutes tend to be less capable when they base the largest portion of their education learning how to 'obey' procedures and to memorize them via their authorities prior to UNDERSTANDING them.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Natural ChemE on November 6th, 2016, 4:25 am 

Scott Mayers » November 5th, 2016, 6:41 pm wrote:My question then is whether you agree that "Science" should become more philosophically responsible UP FRONT, as the original "Natural Philosophy" might teach, rather than to fixate on demanding us 'trust' what we are told UNTIL we are formally 'accepted' to that privileged class of graduates at THE END?

Definitely! While students only need to learn enough to get good grades, serious learners should seek to understand content at a conceptual level.

Try to tear down everything you're ever taught, and accept only what you can't destroy through rational objection. This critiquing process is the "critical" in "critical thinking", and it's exactly how most successful researchers get to be successful.

I would note that this question's wording ("become more philosophically responsible") seems to suggest a course of action for all researchers, but this doesn't follow because not all researchers have the same goal. Certainly researchers who want to lead a field need to have a deep conceptual understanding of it, though many researchers make meaningful contributions without full mastery.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 7:19 am 

Scott, I am not qualified to argue your point but I can add this. As Paul Anthony says, this occurs in many (perhaps all) fields of study. We had a Social Studies professor who, in his first class on the first day, explained himself quite clearly thus:

"I do not care whether you agree with me or not. I do not mind at all if you nave a different philosophy than I. But, when it comes time for your final exam, you'd d....d well better be able to give back to me what I taught."

At least he was honest in how he'd deal with us as students.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby neuro on November 6th, 2016, 8:07 am 

Scott, I think you missed the target.
You are accusing "science" of faults of the academic institutions and the scientists.

There is nothing more removed from science than the "because I said so" argument.

By the way, if you lived in Italy, where a Nobel prize in medicine can sit at a table in any kind of TV show to discuss a medical issue with an astrologist, a farmer and an actor, and whatever each of them says (on the medical issue) is taken as equally authoritative, you would feel exactly the other way around.

The point is not on authority, the point is on the factual basis of what you are saying. Science simply requires that anything you claim be supported by facts, observations, and consistent logic deductions from that.

As far as I can see, Natural Philosophy is not different from this, unless you mean that natural philosophy does not need to be based on facts (but then I do not know what natural philosophy can actually be).

What you might be targeting in your critique might actually be the use of the (self-attributed) label of "science" to cut others out of a philosophical discussion. But this, once more, must be imputed on people, not on science.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 8:26 am 

Scott Mayers wrote:I'm tired of trying to discuss things 'scientific' when many of those who even have degrees these days make a demarcation that treats 'science' as the property of the Institutes and not of the public.


I've thought and thought about it. I am remembering a few times when I, totally uneducated in any science, have put forth an idea as a speculation. I have never had a scientist talk down to me, put me in my place as out of order for even thinking such things, tell me not to talk about things I do not understand, etc/ i have always gotten good, clear, concise explanations as to why my idea is wrong and why it would not work. I have had such responses from would-be scientists but not from professional scientists.

I can't say about philosophers. I am not encouraged to try.


Please explain exactly: What is "Natural Philosophy"?". Thank you.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Forest_Dump on November 6th, 2016, 9:20 am 

Well I like the topic and the OP and (obviously) a lot of the comments and think there can be much more said on this. But rather than be redundant I will try to just add a few shorter comments.

Eschewing the title of "scientist" in favour of "natural philosopher" actually brings you in line with one opinion of Darwin written more than 150 years ago. However, in and of itself that would only constitute the same kind of appeal to authority that you also (rightly) dislike particularly since, in and of itself, there is no real consideration of why Darwin felt that way (which would require some research and thought on your part, that of course you could do if you chose) and whether the demarcation between "science" and naturalism or natural philosophy remains the same.

Some of your comments on how science is conducted might profit from Feyerabend's "Against Method" and some of the more recent philosophers of science (I like A. Bird, for example). I too am not impressed with a ridig and dogmatic adherence to the cookbook approach of the so-called "scientific Method" and think there needs to be more logic and critique employed.

I also think that too many adopt the title "science" or "scientist" either to gain respectability or simplistic accreditation in commercial applications. Frankly, it should be clear that too much has been co-opted for political agendas (I think there is a great documentary on the "destruction" of science in Canada under the Harper government that you could find by looking for "The Silence of the Labs" by the Fifth Estate) but ranging from "Creation Science" to some of the conspiracy theory science(s) and at least some of the "science" of Creation science, big-oil science, big pharma science, tobacco science, etc., etc.

However, I also think there is tons of science out there for average people to do. Personally I think you can contribute far more to science by going out and observing birds, flowers or butterflies, collecting and analyzing fossils, etc. All you really need to learn is how collect and think about data/observations in such a way that it actually does make a contribution and doesn't do damage (which, frankly is a frequent problem with untrained amateurs - if you see a rare bird or butterfly for your area, resist the urge to kill it, for example. Taking a fossil or artifact with tremendous potential out of proper context without recording important information essentially just destroys it).

Ultimately IMHO science is only science within a purely ideological context that isn't just about accreditation but also has to take into consideration why you choose the questions of interest to you, why they should matter to me and how or why I would or should take time away from whatever I am doing to pay attention to anything you are doing whether that be writing about the problems of science vs. natural philosophy or just tinkering with a better computer game or weapnized ebola virus.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Serpent on November 6th, 2016, 10:07 am 

Scott Mayers » November 6th, 2016, 3:20 am wrote:If one teaches themselves, they approach learning in a bottom-up way usually because they aren't forced to the time limitations imposed through a structured formal training. But this is not necessarily a lessor means to learn but a more powerful one instead.

Possibly. Then again, you may have covered the bits you liked and skipped the tedious details, or missed a few links of logical connection. How can I tell? If you don't have professional accreditation, I'm not crossing a bridge you design or letting you operate on my appendix. This is hard on foreign-trained doctors and engineers, who may be even better at the work, but .... how can I tell?

. As such, defaulting to institutions biases favor to certain types of thinkers through them as to how one learns on their own.

It's also a way of keeping out the crackpots and half-baked youngsters who think their own novel creative idea is better than all the stodgy fact-grubbing of the professors.

I already DO have a lot invested in learning and continue to do so. Yet, if I have some question or idea I'd want to ask or propose to those in relative 'power' to those accredited, I'm expected to grovel or play dumb to those who think they are more wise for their qualification alone.

Perhaps you've approached the wrong experts. Of course, when it comes to publication, the editorial board does have that authority, whether it's in science or fiction. Nothing to stop you publishing a blog, monographs or a book of your own and let the readers judge your ideas.

It makes it difficult for certain kinds of thinking that is equally as necessary to the process of intellectual pursuits such as science.

What kinds of thinking are there? Intuition, inspiration, imagination, visual and lateral thinking and interlocution are all useful to science -- if they are followed up by observation, experiment, measurement, testing, testing and retesting.

Philosophy is not less relevant for scientific thinking but more.

More than what? And how?

The narrowing of "science" to be more focused on the 'method' of strict observations, makes those going through that system think they are qualified to speak on the intellectual connections BETWEEN observations with better credibility when they miss the parts of Natural Philosophy that deal with logic. So many who 'learn' through the institutes tend to be less capable when they base the largest portion of their education learning how to 'obey' procedures and to memorize them via their authorities prior to UNDERSTANDING them.
In every discipline, as in every walk of life, some student are more able than others; some understand more readily and see connections more clearly; some pay closer attention and are more diligent; some retain more information longer; some have an inaccurate notion of their own worth; some are incompetent, many are mediocre; most are adequate - and a very few are brilliant.
That will always be true of the formally and the informally trained. With the formally trained, at least we know they've been exposed to methodology and are not just winging it.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 10:32 am 

I do not understand this criticism of science as "strict observation". I thought that was part of what qualified science as "science". I thought science was supposed to be an exacting field of study. You didn't debate and philosophize about science. You simply stuck with it until you could hold up the cold, hard findings and say "this is what we found; this is what we know as of now".

What am I misunderstanding? Maybe someone can explain? Maybe?
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Forest_Dump on November 6th, 2016, 12:44 pm 

vivian maxine » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:32 am wrote:I do not understand this criticism of science as "strict observation". I thought that was part of what qualified science as "science". I thought science was supposed to be an exacting field of study. You didn't debate and philosophize about science. You simply stuck with it until you could hold up the cold, hard findings and say "this is what we found; this is what we know as of now".

What am I misunderstanding? Maybe someone can explain? Maybe?


Actually there can be a shorthand here for a variety of topics and I will exploit that to make a couple of points on the philosophy of science as might relate to this thread.

One shorthand point might be towards what I refer to the cookbook approach of the scientific method which begins with observations leading to the construction of hypotheses, etc. But of course, for starters making observations long predates any construction we would call science and, for example, would apply to the first launched weapon: Thog throws rock. Deer falls down. Thog throws rock not quite so hard. Deer runs away. All perfectly true and one could even add in deliberations about cause and effect, a rudimentary understanding of gravity, etc., but is it science if Thog thinks the rock hitting the deer kills the deer by knocking its spirit loose rather than causing brain damage etc? This is one string for debate.

Another thread could run along the lines of the logical/philosophical problem of making observations relevant to certain questions or seeking casual connections for correlations. I think most here are aware of cases where there are strong mathematical/statistical correlations that do not have a demonstrated (at least as yet) causal connection. My favorite example (from the 1970s) was the statistically strong correlation between the spreading of the Atlantic Ocean and the rise in GNP. I could note that the volcano on island X hasn't erupted since the people there began to sacrifice virgins to the volcano god (andrhetorically, who is going to risk the results if they stop?). These things might all be true but suffice to say few of us would accept the argument for a causal connection.

Somewhat related here are other questions about what "strict observations" mean. The rigor used in making observations is one angle but some also insist good robust sample size is necessary for "it" to be good science (i.e., anecdotal evidence is suspect). This, for example, was a big factor in debates about global warming. But of course this is not always the case and not always possible. For example, there were some bones found years ago that some argued to be evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and anatomically modern Homo sapiens. But that was debated. More recently independent supporting evidence came from DNA studies. But how robust does this data need to be? How many Neanderthal bones need to be sampled for their DNA and does the complete DNA sequence for a (or how many) Neanderthal need to be available and compared to how many modern humans before we are convinced that this is indeed acceptable science?

Obviously I have opinions on some of this stuff and there is plenty of room for energetic debate. There are and will be different philosophical answers to questions like the weighting of quantitative vs. qualitative observations, the extent to which math and statistically analyzed observations get us to the end or merely an early to mid point in the scientific process, etc.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Paul Anthony on November 6th, 2016, 1:13 pm 

vivian maxine » Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:26 am wrote:
Please explain exactly: What is "Natural Philosophy"?". Thank you.


I'm not qualified to answer your question (but when has that stopped me?). As I see it:

Science answers questions.
Philosophy questions answers.

By those two cryptic lines, I mean that Science examines all the available data and draws conclusions. The answers found are final unless and until additional data is discovered. But every "answer" discovered by Science evokes more questions to a philosopher. Science never stops, but it pauses. Philosophy does neither.

IMO, a true scientist - if unencumbered by ego - is both a scientist and a philosopher. Anyone calling himself a scientist who, after finding an answer, is satisfied enough to stop is not a scientist but merely a technician.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 1:18 pm 

If a conclusion is suspect, it is open to debate. The debate is the philosophical side of it. Right so far? Still, IMO, the "strict observation", the "exactness" of it is science. Yes? So if there are some who can debate (sensibly, I might add) what science thinks it has discovered, scientists may join in the philosophical debate but his job as a scientist is still to be exact and strict in his research. He cannot let philosophical opinions enter into his scientific reports of what has shown up in his research.

When I defend "strict observation and exactness in results, I do not mean science has definitely found the answer. I only mean it used strictness, rigidity and exactness to get as far as it has gone. Science's conclusions are always wide open to finding more but using the same rules of research. Why do those rules so annoy philosophers? At least we know exactly what the scientists have found so far.

Science is being accused of saying "it is so because we said it is so". I won't argue that but doesn't Philosophy do the same thing when it says "science is wrong because we say it is wrong"? And does philosophy give good, strong evidence that science is wrong in its conclusions?

I think I get part of it, maybe a lot of it, but I keep feeling there is a fine line there that makes science rightfully different (separate?) from philosophy. Seems to me that about all either side can do is say "we'll take it on advisement but you keep working on it, please". Not as much separate fields as I could wish but certainly need a lot of space for breathing.

Thanks, Forest
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Serpent on November 6th, 2016, 1:21 pm 

Having observed Thog at the hunt, his three colleagues reflect upon what they saw.

Smog stares at the clouds for a while, snorts a little cactus pollen, then pronounces that the Rock Spirit and Deer Spirit have united in Smog's belly, which was their sacred destiny. Therefore, he directs the people to gather together many rock and go kill many deer for the approval of the gods.
Smog is a theologian.

Plog cogitates at length, then declaims at even greater length upon the Ideal deer, the Ideal rock, the Ideal man, regrets that none of these can exist in the real world, and admonishes the citizens to avoid beans and women and aspire to perfect Thogness.
Plog is a philosopher.

Glog gathers many rocks and starts throwing them at wooden targets, trying out different sizes and different angles and distances, then sorting the rocks into three separate piles, notching the ones that were most effective.
Glog is a scientist.

Atuk notices this and picks up a stick which sort-of-fits along the notch in one of the rocks. Then he picks up a piece of vine....
Atuk is an inspired tinkerer; a pragmatist, like his chimp ancestors who threw rocks and stick for millions of years before there was any fanciful, convoluted thinking behind it: they just wanted fruit to fall down, enemies to run away and nutshells to open.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 1:38 pm 

Paul Anthony » November 6th, 2016, 12:13 pm wrote:
vivian maxine » Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:26 am wrote:
Please explain exactly: What is "Natural Philosophy"?". Thank you.


I'm not qualified to answer your question (but when has that stopped me?). As I see it:

Science answers questions.
Philosophy questions answers.

By those two cryptic lines, I mean that Science examines all the available data and draws conclusions. The answers found are final unless and until additional data is discovered. But every "answer" discovered by Science evokes more questions to a philosopher. Science never stops, but it pauses. Philosophy does neither.

IMO, a true scientist - if unencumbered by ego - is both a scientist and a philosopher. Anyone calling himself a scientist who, after finding an answer, is satisfied enough to stop is not a scientist but merely a technician.



Paul, I wanted to answer this separately from my other. Your last lines are "right on". I'm coming to see how the two fields can meld and work together - if they can do so. As you say, a scientist can be ( most likely is) both a scientist and a philosopher. If one is going to specialize in philosophy, can he also be a successful scientist in a research lab?

You say "Science answers questions; Philosophy questions answers". I'd add Science never comes to final conclusions. Nor does philosophy, as you say?" But that's another issue we'll skip here.

By asking what is "natural philosophy", I am wanting to know if it involves more than simply observing and reporting what you observe. So far, that is all I am hearing as its definition and it doesn't wash. If it did, in my experience, all swans are indeed white and, looking at the horizon, the world is indeed flat - at least until you take a ship eastward to reach San Francisco while I walk westward and get there first.

Thank you for the ideas. Things to think about.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby zetreque on November 6th, 2016, 2:45 pm 

Scott Mayers » Sun Nov 06, 2016 1:20 am wrote:
I already DO have a lot invested in learning and continue to do so. Yet, if I have some question or idea I'd want to ask or propose to those in relative 'power' to those accredited, I'm expected to grovel or play dumb to those who think they are more wise for their qualification alone. It makes it difficult for certain kinds of thinking that is equally as necessary to the process of intellectual pursuits such as science.


Welcome to the world. :)
I think your argument can be said for any interaction with another human. It isn't just science, I think it's everything from science to waitressing. In every environment you will encounter people who will look down on you and not give you the time of day unless you look a certain way, speak a certain way, or have money in your hand.

To sympathies with some scientists, they are sometimes frustrated with trying to communicate with others that don't know how much time and work they have put into something. Or can't speak on the same level. They can be very busy people and not willing to put that much time into hearing others out.

Another thing I might point out is a new type of accredited scientist/ civilian interaction that is taking place more often now. Citizen science programs. There are many of those popping up everywhere and lend a lot of value to the world. People can learn the language without formal training and that looks good on a resume lending you credibility too. Even nature and environmentalism programs. Earthwatch institute teams up people interested in the environment with accredited scientists and go on expeditions.

I'm getting the feeling that your basis for this thread is rooted in a certain bad interaction or couple interactions you have had.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby vivian maxine on November 6th, 2016, 3:05 pm 

Weather Watch for NOAA and local broadcast stations. They are all over the country and highly valued.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 5:44 pm 

I have a lot to respond to above and will begin with a thank you.

Before responding specifically, I'll try to give you a part of what I'm writing on a larger topic I'm presently working on in light of theory itself.

I'm going to be trying to re-open the case for a 'first-principle' approach that has been relatively closed from the efforts of science since Godel, Turing, Popper, Heisenberg, Einstein, et al. [Science AND science philosophy]. From the "logical positivist" goal to find a solid foundation in logic (math, being a part of this) that can link bottom-up to the discoveries through today's conventional interpretation of "science" that basically has abandoned trusting bottom-up approaches except in philosophy.

"Natural Philosophy" used to be those parts of intellectual efforts that dealt with nature itself external to political, religious, or essential 'human' biases. But today's "science" has narrowed down the field to a strictly practical function that is biased against the past due TO politicizing it. Essentially, today's narrowed term, "science", is based on the goal to determine "HOW TO EXPLOIT NATURE" rather than "TO UNDERSTAND NATURE". In other words, where Natural Philosophy included the practical USES of science, science was just the part that dealt with the 'clerical' factors mostly dealing with observation itself, not theory. But "science" as an institute, has done what has occurred often in the past that turned what used to be secular intelligence into religion without realizing this (or for some, possibly with purpose).

I'll now use a part of what I mentioned I was writing to give examples that are easier to relate to:

...“Science” as an institute, today, is treated as a political body with the sole function to interpret nature sufficient to determine how to use it for human utility, and NOT to actually care whether ‘what’ it discovers is or is not ‘true’ by nature apart of our uses. This may already make sense to you and begs asking me, “so what?” What is not understood though is that the way “science” is being sold, many people even within science, as from without, think that science is the perfectly sufficient domain of intellectual authority TO UNDERSTAND REALITY. This false believe prevents those who can contribute to IMPROVING actual understanding THROUGH any novel interpretation of past authorities from advancing beyond the limitations set by a form of ‘copyright’ or ‘trademark’ protectionism of the literal institutions that science had originally derived from.

This divorce of the purpose of science distinct from all other philosophical areas may seem also trivial if we can STILL argue through those other areas freely. The problem is that philosophy distinct from science has diminished its significance as though “philosophy” beyond science dealing with truth is mere speculation lacking substantial virtue. What used to be called “Natural Philosophy” has become robbed of its completeness because of this separation. “Natural Philosophy” WAS what ‘science’ served as both understanding AND practice. But an intellectual transfer was made to show that all that was significant in “natural philosophy” was its practical function and renamed, “science”. But it simultaneously dissolved the original broad compass of what was “natural philosophy” into a meaningless class by that transfer in a clever rhetorical way that forced us to treat “natural philosophy” as ONLY what was designed to be strict to the scientific method as it was formulated through the educational institutes.

The logic can be simplified by example. Imagine we are discussing the term “Religion” as a subject that originally encompassed all distinct religions collectively, such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc. A particular group, say Christianity, believes they are the ONLY ‘true’ religion as many do. But then in time, the institutes that teach the general subject, “Religion”, narrow their focus to Christianity by popular consent. They may have even discovered a proof that all other religions are false. Then they begin to use “religion” and “Christianity” interchangeably as though they are identical. In time, the institutes teaching these begin to entrench laws specific to Christianity while simultaneously assuming these as default to imply what is true of religious beliefs universally. But then the uses of both terms seem superfluous and so the authorities simply drop the term, “religion”, from the vernacular all together but as a diminished identical reference TO “Christianity”.

This robs the intellectual capacity of one wanting to challenge “Christianity” (meaning equally all of “religion” ) because it demands those wanting to prove something beyond Christianity to require DISPROVING the whole of Christianity AND place the prerequisite of challengers to be initially qualified BY Christian authorities.

If the thinking was wrong about those particular ‘proofs’ that hide the ‘trick’ of that transfer, one is unable to dislodge the false thinking. A simple ‘proof’ of this difficulty is to attempt to open a thread in a ‘science’ forum with the title: “Einstein was wrong”. You would instantly get such a thread moved to a junk or ‘dunce’ area regardless of its content or value. The issue of Einstein’s validity in “science” is a closed issue and the remote DOUBT one could sincerely pose is blasphemous…..even if the actual content in the very first sentence said, “….well, not really”. If you DO have a serious contention with some such theory, one is placed with the onus to go THROUGH the very institutes that ‘trademark’ and preserve those authorities regardless of its simultaneous claims to serve the sincere goal of seeking truth.

This does NOT mean that science cannot discover a theory that is complete or closed. But it ties the WAY the initial ‘owners’ of the FIRST authorities to some theory to their SPECIFIC interpretation, even if the interpretation itself is wrong. The ‘logic’ of some such theory can still hold in its results completely but might require an adjustment in interpretation if only for the sake of dealing with OTHER theories elsewhere.

Again, back to the Religion/Christianity example, this would be like challenging the authority of “Jesus Christ” in the domain of the institutes that teach religion as a whole under the banner of “Christianity”. If you are trying to prove that even some non-Christian religion exists, because the term “religion” has become a mere pointer to mean “Christianity”, the authorities would treat one challenging the defining feature of Jesus Christ as a founding authority as being “non-religious”! Moreover, you’d be treated as being “ANTI-religious”.


Thus, what I believe has happened is that the scope of "Natural Philosophy" has been robbed by a subset of it, we call "science", but then dropped anything external to that particular part of the whole by equating Natural Philosophy AND Science in the way I described how "Religion" gets transferred to equate with "Christianity". This 'trick' is an evolutionary process that takes the SECULAR reasoning of one generation to BECOME the next RELIGION of the future. The Secular institution gets too political and powerful that it conserves itself by making its role more and more privileged in time. Their comes a tipping point where the authorities then begin to start that parental, "because-I-said-so" type of reasoning or uses overly dumbed down 'stories' for the unaffiliated to accept without question.

The story of Adam and Eve, in the Judaeo-Christian-Islamic religions, for example, is precisely this KIND of 'story'. Without digressing into my own secular interpretation of that one, the point is that if science continues this trend, they are repeating history and will devolve to become the next 'religion' because its authorities no longer care to justify the reasoning to those beneath them and so focus on demanding FAITH up front until you reach (if you do) the Cardinal level (degrees) that privilege you the respect of a 'proof'.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 6:24 pm 

zetreque » November 5th, 2016, 7:33 pm wrote:I agree that far too much "science" is locked up in journals but so much can be obtained by anyone who wants to just go down and visit their nearest university library and get on the computer.

I think you are missing a couple things here.

First is that our knowledge in any one area has become so great that it can take more than a lifetime to get to that point. It takes a lot of time to obtain the knowledge to get to the point of understanding the boundaries or limits to our knowledge on certain topics. The scientific process we have right now allows for peer reviewed input as we work to push the boundaries.

Also, I am currently under the understanding that you don't have to go through a university to pubish a paper. Once I graduate I plan on publishing papers myself but I have not looked that deep into this. As long as you have enough knowledge to be able to speak the language of the greats, then you can get published by contributing in the same language.

The 'peer' review, though is too biased to political interests now. I think that we should allow forums like these to act as the NEW means of replacing that system. In essence, the old process was limited rationally by publication limits. With the internet, we no longer need the refereeing (moderation), because information online is dirt cheap compared to that and also enables the public to participate.

Your own goal to find a means to 'publish' external to university institutes IS what I believe is limited. But what's worse is that where forums are provided, the public is still demanded to FIRST ACCEPT the status quo prior to even asking questions. I've learned this a few times already. One is to a thread I began here in the physics section that got removed to the "Personal Theories" section when I was actually asking a question but (oops) mentioned that I doubted what I already could follow about the standard model.

This answers one of the above person's question as to prior experience of this that motivates me to ask this. But 'personal' motive alone is NOT the argument I'm presenting. So should I include this point, it is NOT a justification to diminish the power of my argument. I believe in being honest about motive as it helps others to find a means to relate to the one proposing some question OR thesis.

Perhaps and analogy is how everyone used to have to learn Latin in order to participate in intellectual pursuits. Or how people need to learn English currently if they want to participating in global events. I'm not saying it's fair or has equality built in, but it has it's benefits.

I do also agree with you that scientists do a poor job bringing their work to the general public. However, many regularly give lectures to the general public and people can ask questions to understand. I attend them all the time. Some are horrible at communicating to the public and some are really great.

If you spend some time getting to know research methods and how it all operates, it's actually pretty amazing.

Some of this is answered in my last post above. Latin was actually intended to BE universal when languages from different peoples the world over could not easily learn each and every separate language in order to compete. It makes complete sense for the time. Now we have translators that can do this better and still have found means to use common words in these fields for all places.

I DO find some science improving on the 'selling' part. Yet, much of it still fixates on oversimplification and a lot of repeating over already covered ground in exactly the same way. An excellent example is the way the Big Bang is sold in popular media today. (See the thread I raised recently here that got redirected discussing the Steady State theory question on Conservation.)

Your use of the word "demarcation" makes no sense in the first paragraph.

It is the term used in scientific philosophy intending to distinguish how to separate (de- "of", -marcation "marking boundaries") between science from pseudo-science or religion.

While I agree that science can be improved, I completely disagree that we need to revert to natural philosophy. It takes the reality out of education and advancement. Science takes a lot of hard labor with careful thought while philosophy is more on the mental side lacking labor in the real world testing our thoughts.

One way in which science can be improved to your liking is simply opening up education to everyone. I don't want to get into any debate about HOW certain politicians propose to fund free college for everyone, but if it were possible, doing so would certainly help open up the pursuit of knowledge to more people. It would alleviate your primary complaint of knowledge being privately held and privileged. Online education is helping do that as well.

Another part of this conversation which I will leave to a later time is who pays for funding of the science and do they have the right to own the results?

Read the last post I made above. It deals with this more clearly. I agree to your intentional understanding though.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby zetreque on November 7th, 2016, 6:29 pm 

The 'peer' review, though is too biased to political interests now.


I disagree. One of my professors peer reviews other peoples papers and he is just an average guy at a small college.

You can't knock the system until you actually get involved in it and see what it's all about.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 6:31 pm 

Serpent » November 6th, 2016, 12:57 am wrote:What's stopping any layman from contemplating, learning or practicing "Natural philosophy"?


I've answered this in the last two posts. I agree we have the capacity to learn many things freely. But what is even available is still limited and is now getting harder as the Internet is becoming more locked up by our governments and corporate gateways through ISPs. Education is a commodity and so even is hard and getting harder to utilize the Internet as it was even a few years ago. [Torrents for instance was a good means to share that is severely being targeted by government, corporations, and institutes demanding we PAY for what they want us to have.]

This is another worthwhile thread on its own.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 6:35 pm 

BadgerJelly » November 6th, 2016, 1:16 am wrote:Scott -

It seems to me you are more concerned with the institutions not the method. Both science and philosophy in academic circles are withdrawn from the public domain to some degree or another.

No, both. See my above responses.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 6:53 pm 

vivian maxine » November 6th, 2016, 9:32 am wrote:I do not understand this criticism of science as "strict observation". I thought that was part of what qualified science as "science". I thought science was supposed to be an exacting field of study. You didn't debate and philosophize about science. You simply stuck with it until you could hold up the cold, hard findings and say "this is what we found; this is what we know as of now".

What am I misunderstanding? Maybe someone can explain? Maybe?

Natural Philosophy covered all intellectual factors relating to Nature itself without bias to human interests.

Science was more about the anal processes of observing, recording, and less so on the theorizing parts.
"Science" is a word originally referencing the role of 'seeing' without judging or interpreting WHAT you see. Although even "logic" too is related to this meaning historically, as it refers to 'looking up' or 'logging' information in a mechanical process, logic deals with taking the data (from what is observed as "science") and analyzing it to draw conclusions. Math, is one part of logic, for instance.

Using past scientists to help differentiate, Tycho Brahe was an anal observer who represents what today's science has become more accustomed to favor, where Kepler, is the theoretician who took Brahe's data, analyzed it, and drew the logical conclusions from that data as a 'natural philosopher'. Even Einstein was this type of thinker. But many today think the theorists today belong TO the privileged graduates who must FIRST be "Tycho Brahe" before being eligible to be a "Kepler". I'm saying we still NEED both and allow those to reverse the order of this form of qualification. The institutes favor only those initially skilled in the clerical factors before they are privileged to the thinking involved.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Paul Anthony on November 7th, 2016, 7:13 pm 

Scott Mayers » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:53 pm wrote:

I'm saying we still NEED both and allow those to reverse the order of this form of qualification. The institutes favor only those initially skilled in the clerical factors before they are privileged to the thinking involved.


If I may paraphrase, one must BE a scientist before one is allowed to question what the scientific community has concluded to be correct.

Have I interpreted your words correctly? If so, I agree that it is the case presently and that we might all benefit if it were not so.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 7:14 pm 

zetreque » November 7th, 2016, 5:29 pm wrote:
The 'peer' review, though is too biased to political interests now.


I disagree. One of my professors peer reviews other peoples papers and he is just an average guy at a small college.

You can't knock the system until you actually get involved in it and see what it's all about.

Sorry, I'm laughing a bit to your "One of my professors.." in that this answers WHY you'd think this way. Being INSIDE already permits you to justify HOW things are done as they are. When you are invested SUCCESSFULLY in some institute, you credit the WAY you succeeded by default regardless. As such, the peer review process is one of those functions of formal education.

You would also no doubt be accepted IN public forums outside of the university system to speak REGARDLESS of any difficulties. Not all people learn the same but the system is designed to bias against the THINKER up front.

So the institutes tend to foster those with good default clerical skills first, such as those having better memories or other genetic or environmental aptitudes. (Even poverty, for instance, acts as just such a barrier because those coming from this background have an early school experience that prevents many from being able to compete in the same way.)
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby zetreque on November 7th, 2016, 7:19 pm 

Scott Mayers » Mon Nov 07, 2016 4:14 pm wrote:
zetreque » November 7th, 2016, 5:29 pm wrote:
The 'peer' review, though is too biased to political interests now.


I disagree. One of my professors peer reviews other peoples papers and he is just an average guy at a small college.

You can't knock the system until you actually get involved in it and see what it's all about.

Sorry, I'm laughing a bit to your "One of my professors.." in that this answers WHY you'd think this way. Being INSIDE already permits you to justify HOW things are done as they are. When you are invested SUCCESSFULLY in some institute, you credit the WAY you succeeded by default regardless. As such, the peer review process is one of those functions of formal education.

You would also no doubt be accepted IN public forums outside of the university system to speak REGARDLESS of any difficulties. Not all people learn the same but the system is designed to bias against the THINKER up front.

So the institutes tend to foster those with good default clerical skills first, such as those having better memories or other genetic or environmental aptitudes. (Even poverty, for instance, acts as just such a barrier because those coming from this background have an early school experience that prevents many from being able to compete in the same way.)


You are wrong Scott. I am an older student. I spent the majority of my life self educating. I had a lot of thoughts like you did and still do. I have a bigger picture now of how it all works. Now that I have gone through it, I can understand more. Now that I have gone through it I have more of a credible right to knock it if I want. That's why I say you need to check it out before knocking it because I saw some stuff missing in your argument.

As to your point about poverty barrier. That's not correct either. Mental illness isn't even a barrier. There are multiple handicap students at my school and I don't even understand how they can be here but they are and have the same opportunity.
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Re: We need to revert to "Natural Philosophy" not "Science"

Postby Scott Mayers on November 7th, 2016, 7:19 pm 

Paul Anthony » November 7th, 2016, 6:13 pm wrote:
Scott Mayers » Mon Nov 07, 2016 3:53 pm wrote:

I'm saying we still NEED both and allow those to reverse the order of this form of qualification. The institutes favor only those initially skilled in the clerical factors before they are privileged to the thinking involved.


If I may paraphrase, one must BE a scientist before one is allowed to question what the scientific community has concluded to be correct.

Have I interpreted your words correctly? If so, I agree that it is the case presently and that we might all benefit if it were not so.

Yes. That's a good succinct way to say it. [Don't count on me to BE succinct though....I'm not that good! ;) ]
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