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  1. #101
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Yup. That's the point that I'm making. It's more regulated than most aspects of business, but if you're talking about finding some moral reason that makes science better or worse than any other industry, there really isn't one. People in general stick to ideals only if it suits their purpose.
    Depending on the field and context, scientific research may or may not be an industry. If you work in the pharmaceutical field, yes it is.
    I fear you're making very broad generalizations, and that you're heavily biased because of your own personal experience of scientific research (or perhaps you weren't in a particularily good mood today). I read lots of personal projections here. If you failed or feel disgruntled by you current work or supervisor, it doesn't imply that it's true for everybody and in most situations.

    And about your postmodernist criticism of science, let me recommend you to read Alan Sokal.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  2. #102
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    With a completely realistic impression of the scientific community, it is better to be skeptical than swallow the next big-pharma-produced wonder-drug that comes along claiming to cure restless leg syndrome.
    Who are you to pretend you have a complete "realistic" perception of what the scientific community is?

    I don't see a practical purpose in arguing over what science and religion "can potentially be". Because all you're limited by is imagination, really, and these words are defined in many different ways by many different people. Arguing about "the ideal" is hardly useful when social scientists, scientists and philosophers can't even agree on what the ideal is! The idea of the "scientific method" is actually relatively new itself. Philosophically speaking it only came about in the 20th century in an effort to try to define "natural studies" under an umbrella word. If you look at the historical perspective of the idea of the "scientific method", it's a retrospective definition of rich-boy research from the 17th-19th century (most notably that of Robert Boyle). It's no wonder then, that no one adheres to "the scientific method" in reality. The way that definition came about was itself suspect, and most research conducted today would be incredibly inefficient if the supposed "scientific method" was used. Read Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, it's the most-cited social science paper in history.
    Once again, postmodernist cliché.

    Kuhn didn't exactly say that (he's more "nuanced", to use a word you seem to appreciate), by the way, and your position seems closer to Feyerabend's.

    Exactly! I believe that there is no point in talking about the relative merits of a democratic republic and an autocratic government. It all depends on the specific people in charge! Otherwise the conclusions that you draw are so general that it's completely useless, whether speaking about current reality or for formulation of policy in the future. Just like I do not criticise "science" in general and simply point out that administrative methods, means of obtaining funding and the peer-review process do not help the objective research process or adhere to what people believe science to be, it's ridiculous to use preconceptions of religion or science (that make up an incredibly narrow slice of what it actually IS) to draw broad conclusions about either subject.
    Once again, perhaps your supervisor is an asshole, perhaps you're angry because you did not get the grant you wanted even after years of post-doc research, perhaps you feel that you are better and smarter than everybody (and especially better than the assholes that get published and/or promoted in your laboratory instead of you or your friends)... and so on... Perhaps that's all true. Perhaps it's not, we have no way of knowing for sure.

    I know what kind of tricky marathon it can be to get a fund. It can be painful indeed, and it often requires non-scientific skills to negociate many steps. But I do not think that's a reason "to throw the baby out with the bathwater".

    What I really adore when I read you, is the blatant contradictions between the principles you claim to adhere, and the way you immediately betray them during the next sentence. You said one should not make "broad conclusions"... but that's exactly what you're continuously making here.
    Broad conclusions and heavy generalizations everywhere, plus the constant claim that you are "more realistic" and "more objective" while in fact, just like anybody, I'm sure you can acknowledge you're as deeply subjective as most of us here.
    Last edited by Blackmail!; 07-01-2013 at 05:32 PM.
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  3. #103
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur View Post
    Yup. That's the point that I'm making. It's more regulated than most aspects of business, but if you're talking about finding some moral reason that makes science better or worse than any other industry, there really isn't one. People in general stick to ideals only if it suits their purpose.
    When you agreed with the idea that there's no point in debating those different political systems, it indicated a much broader difference in philosophy than I expected, so I wasn't quite sure where to start or how to respond (or if there was a reason to bother continuing from there).

    But I do want to respond to this. I don't think there is any moral reason science is superior. There is a practical, functional reason it is superior, such that even a jackass practicing science will likely provide better results than a non-jackass practicing some sort of religious woo woo, or just eschewing science without a substitute.

    It's worth noting that science and religion are more fundamental than industries. Even I can practice science on a day-to-day basis. There is a scientific way of doing things. It's like logic (actually, it is a subsidiary of logic). Logic is something that serves a valuable purpose. Even if every credentialed logician were a dipshit, logic would continue to be just as valuable for me to use. It would still be just as superior to non-logical methods.
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  4. #104
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    And to get back to the subject, if you really think Science is a kind of religion or is totally relative to its social context, then let me quote Alan Sokal:

    "Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. (I live on the twenty-first floor.)"
    "A man who only drinks water has a secret to hide from his fellow-men" -Baudelaire

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  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEGERdeMAIN View Post
    that was an einstein quote, thought it was interesting. I don't belong to or participate in any religious activity. Science cannot stand on it's own, it needs a catalyst. religion was the catalyst at one time, what is it now?
    I'm not sure it only needs a catalyst, it needs ethics. Science without ethics is dangerous to all life.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    I'm not sure it only needs a catalyst, it needs ethics. Science without ethics is dangerous to all life.
    wtf boom

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    As I understand religion it provides an ethical framework and object of devotion, I'm not sure if science actually qualifies as religion given that criteria.
    But some people believe in it exclusively and dogmatically, with blind faith, even things that cannot ever (or currently) be proven, they speak of it as if it were hard cold fact.

    And apparently some people believe, for example, what an abstract math problem could theorize about space, time, or reality is "harder science" than what psychiatry or neurology could know about human brains, which we can observe through various machines for electronic impulses, and in some cases directly.

    Those people remind me of uneducated religious freaks (not saying all religious people are freaks, I'm talking about ignorant freaks, maybe that's why "street preachers" upset you as a more educated Catholic) who would pretty much twist anything about science to suit their own belief system.

    Some people seem to think science is the only unfallable thing in the world, but science has actually made mistakes (fatal mistakes) and incorrect predictions, so yes people who act like it's the only thing we need (no history, no social science, no psychology, no religion)...yes they pretty much are replacing the idea of "God" with science.

    Not all scientists or people who love science do that, but that's where the idea of "science is a religion" comes from, surely.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poimandres View Post
    wtf boom
    That's right. For example, lobotomies, atomic bombs, chemotherapy, air and water pollution by chemicals, "fake foods" just to name a few.

  9. #109
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    That's right. For example, lobotomies, atomic bombs, chemotherapy, air and water pollution by chemicals, "fake foods" just to name a few.
    I think there is a confusion between science and technology.

    Science seeks to understand Nature, while technology seeks application.

    And of course an application may be good or bad, but understanding is neither good nor bad.

  10. #110
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    I think there is a confusion between science and technology.

    Science seeks to understand Nature, while technology seeks application.

    And of course an application may be good or bad, but understanding is neither good nor bad.
    This is correct. I wish more people understood this distinction.
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