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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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    Apr 2 2013: The scientific establishment has changed its paradigm many times, and will do so many times in the future. But more than that, it holds contradictory paradigms simultaneously (Theists vs Atheists).

    There is no real barrier to the paradigm that "matter emerges from mind" to becoming part of the scientific establishment, you just need to convince a critical mass of scientists that your paradigm is the best one.

    If you do it with evidence or ayahuasca is up to you, personally I would prefer evidence, but then, I'm not really part of the scientific establishment, so no need to waste your time with me ... :)
    • Apr 2 2013: The establishment doesn't exactly "change" the paradigm. The revolution is more or less rolling over them. They don't like it, usually. Some may embrace it early, bring it forward. Some may stay neutral, indifferent or prefer to wait and see. Many will resist the change as long as possible, as it tends to make their work harder and may even force them to learn again to keep being relevant. This is just the way things work, in evolution of any field. The fight between the old and the new is not some unfortunate accident, it is essential for progress.
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        Apr 2 2013: So we mostly agree. The "scientific establishment" is a morphing memeplex, just like the government of a country where yesterdays rebels/terrorists are tomorrows rulers/oppressors.

        I still think you are a bit narrow in accepting the existence of only one paradigm at any given time, I think many coexist at the same time, as many as persons are out there. All of them fighting for dominance like genes in a gene-pool.
        • Apr 2 2013: I am the rebel type. It makes things easier for me to assume there is only the evil empire against which I am up to.
          ;)
        • Apr 3 2013: From A.N.Whitehead: Science and the Modern World

          "A great English statesman once advised his countrymen to use large-scale maps, as a preservative against alarms, panics, and general misunderstanding of the true relations between nations. In the same way in dealing with the clash between permanent elements of human nature, it is well to map our history on a large scale, and to disengage ourselves from our immediate absorption in the present conflicts. When we do this, we immediately discover two great facts. In the first place, there has always been a conflict between religion and science; and in the second place, both religion and science have always been in a state of continual development. In the early days of Christianity, there was a general belief among Christians that the world was coming to an end in the lifetime of people then living. We can make only indirect inferences as to how far this belief was authoritatively proclaimed; but it is certain that it was widely held, and that it formed an impressive part of the popular religious doctrine. The belief proved itself to be mistaken, and Christian doctrine adjusted itself to the change. .. Science is even more changeable than theology. No man of science could subscribe without qualification to Galileo's beliefs, or to Newton's beliefs, or to all his own scientific beliefs of ten years ago. In both regions of thought, additions, distinctions, and modifications have been introduced. So that now, even when the same assertion is made to-day as was made a thousand, or fifteen hundred years ago, it is made subject to limitations or expansions of meaning, which were not contemplated at the earlier epoch. We are told by logicians that a proposition must be either true or false, and that there is no middle term. But in practice, we may know that a proposition expresses an important truth, but that; it is subject to limitations and qualifications which at present remain undiscovered. ..."
        • Apr 3 2013: "..So far, my point has been this: that religion is the 'expression of one type of fundamental experiences of mankind: that religious thought develops into an increasing accuracy of expression, disengaged from adventitious imagery: that the interaction between religion and science is one great factor in promoting this development."

          http://quod.lib.umich.edu/g/genpub/AGG6699.0001.001?rgn=main;view=fulltext

          Was Whitehead right?
    • Apr 5 2013: Jose:

      "The scientific establishment has changed its paradigm many times, and will do so many times in the future. But more than that, it holds contradictory paradigms simultaneously (Theists vs Atheists)."

      Can you name any scientific papers (outside of creationist junk science), which mentions any kind of deity as part of the objective statements made by the paper? Don't you think that any paper, during the process of review and publishing, would immediately be rejected for having religious connections of any kind?

      As far as I know, there is absolutely no scientific evidence for the presence of any deity, past, present, or future, including any ancient sun Gods, cults, or emergent deities, in all of human history. In fact, when "scientists" (I call them "unbelievers", as they often require a complete suspension of naturalistic beliefs, hence "unbelievable" acts of nature) try to find such proof, they *always* end up subverting even the most basic tenets of science (such as truth, repeatability, logic, etc).

      Please notice that I have emphasized "always". In all my travels I have never come across any writing, both by professionals and laymen, which passed even the most basic tests. And neither have I ever heard of anyone else, any of my colleagues, friends, etc, finding such work.

      Lastly, I would like to chime in on the comment for "paradigm change". Technology isn't a paradigm. Technology is emergent, and as it evolves (snicker) it will change our understanding and our interaction with our natural world. The scientific method is a reduction in bias. Philosophy is a concentration of bias. Science will not be enhanced by any injection, small or large, of philosophy, regardless if it is "pure" philosophy, religious dogma, or anything else.

      Science is an industrial methodology. It isn't basket weaving or painting.

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