Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Non-Scientific Applications of Scientific Method

In order to be valid, a theory has to be falsifiable. Falsifiability is a set of conditions which, if met, would render the theory false. Thus, if your theory is that moon is made of green cheese, then if a spacecraft goes to the moon and brings back a sample of rock that is not green cheese, then the theory has been falsified.

This logic has a vast range of applications, including for people who have nothing to do with science. Say someone has a theory that you are an alcoholic. This theory cannot be falsified by you saying that you are not an alcoholic; it is however possible to prove that you're not an alcoholic. An alcoholic is someone who cannot control his drinking. If you can control your drinking and keep it to say a glass of wine a day, then that theory has been falsified and you are not an alcoholic.

There are any number of other applications. Say for example that someone has a theory that Obama is a Communist. This theory can likewise be falsified. A Communist would have nationalized the banks and the car industry; instead Obama bailed them out. This not only means that Obama is not a Communist, but likewise that he is a very powerful influence in favor of business, and American business owes him gratitude.

Or if someone has a theory that Jews are evil and control everything. If that had been true, then people saying such things would all be dead. That they are instead free to spread their lies shows either that Jews are not in control, or that the Jews are so good that they would even tolerate those who wish them dead. In either case, this theory can be easily shown to be wrong.

I am against the anti-spiritual bigotry that we see among many who claim to have the scientific worldview; but I am enthusiastically in favor of science as such. Indeed I am convinced that science can ultimately have insight even into spiritual phenomena. And I've known distinguished scientists who had highly spiritual worldviews – worldviews in which they were working to reconcile real spiritual experience with factual knowledge that we see from science.

Different people orient by different methodologies. There are many who orient by “common sense”; there are others who orient by logic; and then there are many who orient by religion. I think that all of the above have the capacity both for right and wrong directions. But the scientific method has more to recommend itself than either of the preceding; and it can be of use in all areas of life and for all sorts of people who are not scientists.


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