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phoenix goodman

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Does the scientific establishment unwittingly suffer from paradigm bias? Does it assume incorrect axioms of existence?

In the light of Thomas Kuhn's "Paradigm Shift" theory, and inspired by the TED controversy of removing Rupert Sheldrake's talk, let us examine the current scientific establishment.

The scientific process is capable of historical meta-analysis to make sense of its own patterns and processes. As Kuhn points out, every generation of scientists tend to assume premises that are fundamentally false but define the paradigm in which they work, and all assumptions flow from those premises.

Two major examples to illustrate are the geocentric/religious paradigm overthrown by Copernicus, and the Newtonian absolute space-time paradigm overthrown by Einstein. Of course, we must look to the actual psyche's of the establishment itself in those contexts. Was Copernicus not considered a heretic? Did not pre-Einsteinian physicists literally just ASSUME absolute spacetime as an axiom when contemplating physics? They are only easily shown to be incorrect in 20/20 hindsight, although up to that point, all the textbooks of school and general consensus among very smart 'experts' propagated those fallacious foundations.

Scientists that are overly specialized, careerist, non-philosophical, and lacking in paradigm shattering intuition/creativity might be the 'gatekeepers' of today, propagating fallacious assumptions themselves, and dismissing all non-establishment positions as heretical.

Has science itself transcended all biases? Has it overcome all incorrect assumptions? Was Newtonian absolute spacetime the final barrier? If not, then we MUST give 'heretics' a shot, should we not? What if they are a paradigm shifter?

As a thought experiment- if we are to contemplate the hypothetical that there are indeed wrong assumptions, what might they be?

Could it be that matter emerges from mind, and not the other way around?
Can Cartesian dualism be solved?
Could it be that the paradigm of Empiricism is merely a subset of the superior Rationalism?

Was Leibniz right?

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    Mar 27 2013: Re: "Does science assume incorrect axioms of existence?"

    Axioms are correct by definition. They are accepted as such without proof and serve as foundation for all theories that follow. It is conceivable to have a different set of axioms and build a different system of knowledge. But saying that axioms are incorrect does not make sense.

    Examples of systems built on different sets of postulates are Euclidean geometry vs. non-planar geometries or classical relativity vs. general relativity. Euclidean axioms are false from a practical perspective - there are no infinite lines or planes in nature and one can draw infinite number of lines or geodesics through 2 points on the surface of Earth (e.g. all meridians go through the two poles). But Euclidean geometry can be successfully used for many everyday purposes.

    One may show that some set of axioms leads to incorrect predictions in a certain context and propose a different set of axioms which is more practical in that context. But I don't see the point of inventing a multitude of geometries with no context or practical need. I think, science has worked quite well so far. It may be an interesting intellectual exercise to speculate what if science was founded on different postulates, but I don't see a practical need for such revision.

    Everyone should plow their own field. I see no good when scientists begin to teach philosophers or religious leaders express scientific opinions.

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