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richard moody jr

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Is the scientific method the best way to get at the "truth"?

In their preface of Broad and Wade the following paragraph sums up their findings, “Our conclusion, in brief, is that science bears little resemblance to its conventional portrait. We believe that the logical structure discernible in scientific knowledge says nothing about the process by which the structure was built or the mentality of the builders. In the acquisition of new knowledge, scientists are not guided by logic and objectivity alone, but also by such nonrational factors as rhetoric, propaganda, and personal prejudice. Scientists do not depend solely on rational thought and have no monopoly on it. Science should not be considered the guardian of rationality in society, but merely one major form of its cultural expression.”

What we learn from Babbage, Reflections of the Decline of Science in England, and Some of Its Causes that as early as the 1830 ethical problems existed in the halls of science. Babbage refers to three practices, “Trimming consists in clipping off little bits here and there from those observations which differ most in excess of the mean, and in sticking them on to those which are too small; a species of ‘equitable adjustment’ as a radical would term it, which cannot be admitted in science.”

In this section “Of Cooking. This is an art of various forms, the object of which is to give to ordinary observations the appearance and character of those of the highest degree of accuracy.” “One of its numerous processes is to make multitudes of observations, and out of these to select those which agree, or very nearly agree. If a hundred observations are made, the cook must be very unlucky if he cannot pick out fifteen or twenty which will do for serving up.” Here Babbage anticipated trials conducted or financed by drug companies where unfavorable or neutral results are shelved and only the tests giving the “right” results are published. This process is systemic in the pharmaceutical industry.

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    Dec 21 2013: The scientific method is the best way to get at a working explanation. No more, no less. It does not prove anything absolutely, ever. Can I ask a question back?
    If one has a health problem and has tried all medical science that has given him/her no relief discovers a way, a discipline, a habit, a particular diet with no scientific authenticity but giving him/her relief every time tried - will that person not adopt that unexplained way? Truth here is his/her relief, isn't?
    • Dec 21 2013: Aren't you arguing for an intuitive alternative---that seems to lead to truth i.e. his/her relief? So, if the scientific method provides one explanation e.g. an origin for the Big Bang, wouldn't a spriritual origin based on intuition be as valid as one derived through the scientific method? Should we view that intuitive response as an alternative to the scientific method?
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        Dec 21 2013: Yes. Learning "truths" (whatever that is) has no algorithm. It is pure instinct. Explanations can be organized and that is where scientific method comes in. You can never explain how to shoot an arrow to hit a target, how to swim, sing, paint, cycle not even having a rare insight.
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          Dec 22 2013: I do not agree with both of you . There is no alternative to the scientific method when it comes ot answering questions that are within the science reach . Science is the best at answering this type of truths .

          No , if science provides one explanation about the origin of the Universe , any sipiritual gain , based on whatever intuition , that is different of the scientific explanation , will not be as valid as the scientific explanation.

          Learnign truths has algorithms , we are that algorithms . And as long as science discovers and explains us there is no alternative to science --- why ? simply because we are the guys that are learning the truths .

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