Monday, March 12, 2007

A Brief Definition of Science

Science is the unscientific assumption that the future will be similar to the past (as remembered in the present), with more recent evidence taking authority in case of contradictions.

Since by definition only statements about the past can be evaluated as scientific, the scientific assumption is unscientific because it is a statement about the future.

Note that this definition makes no reference to “truth”. While a statement “The sun will rise tomorrow” cannot be evaluated in terms of metaphysical truth, it can be said to be scientific, i.e. consistent with my remembrance of past solar cycles.
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2 Comments:

Blogger Aigrette said...

And you have a better assumption to base your world view on? Actually by your own definition, it is the very definition of a scientifically proven assumption. The assumption that the future can be predicted based on the observed past has been proved by well essentially the entire body of scientific observaton to be a very workable assumption. The logic may be completely circular, but barring the observation of an eclipse, a commet on a collision course or an explosion of the sun, sunrise is pretty darned predictable.

http://stockpix.com

6:06 AM  
Blogger TheJew said...

Allow me to clarify:

The post was an attempt to resolve a question that was important to two of my other mortal incarnations: Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. To apply the above to Kuhn’s example of the evolution of astronomy from Ptolemaic systems through Copernican to Galilean systems: The Copernican system (as described by Kuhn via that wiki entry linked above) was not necessarily superior to the Ptolemaic until Galileo applied the insight that the behavior of small terrestrial objects was similar to that of large extra-terrestrial objects. This is superior science in my definition since it allows the application of knowledge about “objects” as a general class to be applied to celestial objects. Observations about terrestrial objects can be easily made by anyone immediately: they have inertia and are affected by gravity (observe, for example, your head).

My point is that any assumption about the future is simply an assumption. Science does not derive its superiority from “truth” or from “scientific validity”, the superiority of science is derived from its utility. Any argument about the “validity” of a set of assumptions about unobservable things (like the future) is necessarily circular. That the scientific assumption contains this “failing” is therefore irrelevant.

It is my scientific belief that the will of The Creator as expressed through Natural Selection should be enough to eliminate beings that do not make the scientific assumption.

1:01 PM  

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