Science or PseudoScience?Posted: December 23, 2009
This is a question which is debated quite often with at times thoughts which tend to be rather closed-minded, at times in ways which the scientific process the way i understand it wouldnt approve of. More often than not it is chic to reject anything and everything which cannot be proved using the scientific way. While this by itself is appreciable given that an understanding of phenomenon must be based on an experience and hence a reasoning associated with those phenomena, at times i believe this is taken to a level where it quite goes against the grain of the scientific process.
Let me explain what i am talking about. A lot of the science is based on existing paradigms of branches of science and a lot of research in areas which may turn out to be pioneering tends to get branded as unscientific because it doesnt fall within this sphere. Which at times translates into scientists believing that they must reject something which is work in progress. In other words, it is acceptable practice to reject anything which doesnt have proof even though it may, in due time, be proved using a scientific method, whether known or yet unknown. And this is what i found refreshing about this paper about distinguishing science from pseudoscience. To quote:
As the reader will see, there are some pursuits that are pseudoscientific by any reasonable definition and others that, although they may be wrong-headed or overblown in some of their claims, are clearly not pseudoscientific in their entirety. In other words, there is a large gray area. In some instances in this disputed region, the practices, data, and theories in question may be unorthodox and overly speculative, but not demonstrably absurd. Claims of this sort should merely be considered “unproven at present”.
This is something which i think should be the way to look at work which is in progress, so that till we can prove, one way or the other, we keep an open mind about the outcome of this work. This i believe is something which needs to be developed more in the way science is done today. This is not to say that we believe everything but at the same time we should not reject something just because there is no proof at present. I believe (i suppose you would agree) that apples didnt need Newton’s permission of gravity to fall to the ground. Which is why it is important to remember that scientists dont invent, they discover. And from there on is the process of logically arriving at conclusions from these discoveries and applying them to some practical use, either for use by people, or to enhance our understanding of the world.
What i find even more interesting:
Although most biologists see no need to postulate a personal agent who willed the laws of nature into existence, there is no logical contradiction in this view, because science deals only with proximal mechanisms. It cannot deal with questions of ultimate causation which are the realm of metaphysics and religion.
This is something i havent heard many people say before. That ultimate causation must be outside the realm of science. Science studies what the laws of nature are, maybe even why they are the way they are, but at least in the current structure, doesnt go beyond this to try and look into the realm of where nature originated from. Though i do believe that there is some form of causation outside of the natural laws which brought these natural laws into existence in the first place. There are a number of examples where we find our body of knowledge as it exists today break down in some way or the other, the singularity for example. As the shloka from the Rig Veda says:
Srishti se pehle Kuch nahin thaa
sat bhi nahin, asat bhi nahin
Antariksh bhi nahin, aakaash bhee nahin thaa.
Chhipaa thaa kyaa, kahaan, kisne dhaka thaa?
Us pal to agam, atal jal bhi kahaan thaa.
Srishti kaa kaun hai kartaa?
Kartaa hai va akartaa
Oonche aakash mein rahtaa.
Sadaaa addhyaksh banaa rahtaa.
Wohee sach much mein jaantaa..Yaa nahin bhi jaanataa
Hain kisi ko nahin pataa,
Nahin hai pataa, nahin hai pataa.
Before creation there was nothing, no truth, no untruth, no universe, nor was the sky there. What was hidden, where, hidden by whome? At that moment, there wasnt even unfathomed water.
Who is the doer of creation, the creative principle? Living in the skies, forver presiding over the drama of creation. He alone knows the real truth, or maybe doesnt know, no one knows.
Shall there be something which we shall forver remain unaware of? Something which we must rely on our inner experience for.