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Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?


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#1    coberst

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 04:54 PM

Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?

Paradigm directed science encourages the scientist to steadfastly adhere to carefully crafted narrow minded thinking.  Because “normal science” has been so successful in achieving its narrow goals I claim that our whole society has become dangerously enchanted into viewing all domains of knowledge in restricted narrow constraints.

Normal science is a puzzle-solving enterprise.  Normal science is a slow accumulation of knowledge by a methodical step-by-step process undertaken by a group of scientists.

‘Paradigm’ is a word that was given great meaning and clarity by Thomas Kuhn in his book “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”.  

“One of the things a scientific community acquires with a paradigm is a criterion for choosing problems that, while the paradigm is taken for granted, can be assumed to have solutions…A paradigm can, for that matter, even insulate the community from those socially important problems that are not reducible to the puzzle form, because they cannot be stated in terms of the conceptual and instrumental tools the paradigm supplies.”

The author notes that all “real science is normally a habit-governed, puzzle-solving activity” and not a Critical Thinking activity.  Paradigm and not hypothesis is the active meaning for the ‘new image of science’.  Paradigm is neither a theory nor a metaphysical viewpoint.

Kuhn’s new image of science—the paradigm—is an artifact, a way of seeing, and is a set of scientific problem solving habits.  Normal science means research based upon one or more past achievements ‘that some particular community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice…and these achievements are sufficiently unprecedented to attract an enduring group pf adherents away from competing modes of scientific activity’ furthermore they are sufficiently open-ended to leave all sorts of problems for the redefined group of practitioners to solve’.  Such achievements Kuhn defines as paradigm.

“A puzzle-solving paradigm, unlike a puzzle-solving hypothetico-deductive system, has also got to be a concrete ‘way of seeing’.”

Kuhn constantly refers to the ‘gestalt switch’ when discussing the switch in reference from one paradigm to another as ‘re-seeing’ action.  Each paradigm has been constructed to be a ‘way-of-seeing’.  Here Kuhn is speaking not about what the paradigm is but how the paradigm is used.  He is defining a paradigm as a newly developed puzzle-solving artifact that is used analogically to understand another artifact; for example, using wire and beads strung together to facilitate understanding the protein molecule.

I think that we place “Science” (meaning normal science) on too high a pedestal and thereby distort our comprehension of political and social problems.  We cannot solve social and political problems like we solve the questions formed by the normal sciences.  

Do you think that the techniques of normal science are directly applicable for solving the social and political problems of society?



#2    Mattshark

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 05:07 PM

I don't think so at all. Scepticism is a very open minded approach, you accept what the evidence shows. Blind belief with out justification is narrow mind, not scepticism and science is sceptical enquiry.
The fact of the matter is that most people don't think or judge in a scientific matter, it is not human nature. That is why we have such a stringent scientific method, it encourages critical thinking and for those trained in it allows for more objective analysis. The idea is to look at issues objectively and this can be a great help in many situations, obviously, they help prevent fraud and conjecture in science which is vital. But they are very rarely applied to none scientific situations.

Personally, I believe the world would be better off with more critical thinking.

Edited by Mattshark, 18 June 2010 - 05:19 PM.

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#3    Agent. Mulder

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 05:15 PM

how does something like Science have 'narrow goals'?
science is the least subjective form of deduction.

the truth is out there....

#4    randym23

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 05:18 PM

I think that we place “Science” (meaning normal science) on too high a pedestal and thereby distort our comprehension of political and social problems.  We cannot solve social and political problems like we solve the questions formed by the normal sciences.  

Do you think that the techniques of normal science are directly applicable for solving the social and political problems of society?

[/quote]


and what else is supposed to work?
religion - fail
philosophy - fail

and visit my site:
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#5    aquatus1

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 10:17 PM

I tend to find that the people who accuse others of placing science on pedestals tend to be the same people who find their personal beliefs to be opposed by scientific thinking.  People who actually work in the field of science very rarely fall into the trap of thinking that science is some sort of dogmatic paradigm (a word which I have come to detest due to its overuse as some sort of rhetorical panacea).

Science is, at its root, a very humbling sort of profession.


#6    coberst

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:05 AM

A person can walk the corridors of any big city hospital and observe the effectiveness of human rationality in action.  One can also visit the UN building in NYC or read the morning papers and observe just how ineffective, frustrating and disappointing human rationality can be.  Why does human reason perform so well in some matters and so poorly in others?

We live in two very different worlds; a world of technical and technological order and clarity, and a world of personal and social disorder and confusion.  We are increasingly able to solve problems in one domain and increasingly endangered by our inability to solve problems in the other.

Normal science is successful primarily because it is a domain of knowledge controlled by paradigms.  The paradigm defines the standards, principles and methods of the discipline.  It is not apparent to the laity but science moves forward in small incremental steps.  Science seldom seeks and almost never produces major novelties.

Science solves puzzles.  The logic of the paradigm insulates the professional group from problems that are unsolvable by that paradigm.  One reason that science progresses so rapidly and with such assurance is because the logic of that paradigm allows the practitioners to work on problems that only their lack of ingenuity will keep them from solving.

Science uses instrumental rationality to solve puzzles. Instrumental rationality is a systematic process for reflecting upon the best action to take to reach an established end.  The obvious question becomes ‘what mode of rationality is available for determining ends?’  Instrumental rationality appears to be of little use in determining such matters as “good” and “right”.

There is a striking difference between the logic of technical problems and that of dialectical problems.  The principles, methods and standards for dealing with technical problems and problems of “real life” are as different as night and day.  Real life problems cannot be solved only using deductive and inductive reasoning.

Dialectical reasoning methods require the ability to slip quickly between contradictory lines of reasoning.  One needs skill to develop a synthesis of one point of view with another.  Where technical matters are generally confined to only one well understood frame of reference real life problems become multi-dimensional totalities.

When we think dialectically we are guided by principles not by procedures.  Real life problems span multiple categories and academic disciplines.  We need point-counter-point argumentation; we need emancipatory reasoning to resolve dialectical problems.  We need critical thinking skills and attitudes to resolve real life problems.


#7    Mattshark

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:12 AM

Science is NOT used in politics. You are mistaken in believing that.

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#8    Startraveler

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:03 PM

View Postrandym23, on 18 June 2010 - 05:18 PM, said:

and what else is supposed to work?
religion - fail
philosophy - fail

When it comes to thinking about social and political problems, it's unavoidable that we turn to some sort of philosophy.


#9    Meridianite

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 02:35 AM

Quote

Does Natural Science Encourage a Narrow Mind?
Of course it does. if you doubt it at all, take a look at some of the threads here where the mentality  if it can not be proven, it can not possibly be true, is inserted everywhere by the scientifically enlightened elite!! They believe in nothing here, their function is to refute everything.

Edited by Spiritster, 04 August 2010 - 02:39 AM.


#10    aquatus1

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 02:52 AM

View PostSpiritster, on 04 August 2010 - 02:35 AM, said:

Of course it does. if you doubt it at all, take a look at some of the threads here where the mentality  if it can not be proven, it can not possibly be true, is inserted everywhere by the scientifically enlightened elite!!

Here is an example of narrow-minded thought.  The belief in black and white thinking, the refusal of anything other than polar extremes.

Quote

They believe in nothing here, their function is to refute everything.

Which, of course, inevitably leads to the baseless accusations of not believing anything, which is then used to accuse people of being narrow-minded.  Trapped in your own circular argument.

Why are they narrow-minded?

Because they believe in nothing and refute everything!

Why do they believe in nothing and refute everything?

Because they are narrow-minded.


#11    Halfwolf

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 04:57 AM

View PostMattshark, on 19 June 2010 - 11:12 AM, said:

Science is NOT used in politics. You are mistaken in believing that.
Why is the term scientific poll used then ? Politicans use Psycology in trying to win over constituents. Philosophy also. I am not saying they are correct in their usage but they use it none the less.


#12    Meridianite

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 03:03 PM

View Postaquatus1, on 04 August 2010 - 02:52 AM, said:

Here is an example of narrow-minded thought.  The belief in black and white thinking, the refusal of anything other than polar extremes.



Which, of course, inevitably leads to the baseless accusations of not believing anything, which is then used to accuse people of being narrow-minded.  Trapped in your own circular argument.

Why are they narrow-minded?

Because they believe in nothing and refute everything!

Why do they believe in nothing and refute everything?

Because they are narrow-minded.
Point well taken. Perhaps my frustration is from  poor typing skills which impede my efforts to keep up with the constant intellectual challenges we are all here for.


#13    aquatus1

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Posted 04 August 2010 - 09:42 PM

Take your time to craft a well-written argument (believe me, around here, that would put you in a minority group).  The advantage of a discussion forum is that the discussion isn't going anywhere.  You do not have to respond in the heat of the moment; indeed, if I notice a discussion getting too heated, I will generally sleep on it prior to discussing.  After all, it is a little silly to get too worked up over a discussion with total strangers on the internet.

The fix to close-mindedness is spending a little time contemplating your response.  If you find yourself able to respond immediately without having to ever consider a response, then perhaps one should consider that by having so many pre-programmed responses one may have inadvertently blinkered oneself.  That, of course, applies to everyone, but that said, not every pre-programmed response is necessarily a sign of close-mindedness.  After all, if a given argument has been brought up a dozen times, and has been shown incorrect a dozen times, it would not be considered close-minded to assume that it is wrong until proven right.





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