May 222019
 

SCIENCE: WHAT IS IT?

Introduction

I am a scientist, raised in a family of scientists. My father, Boris, was a famous scientist, and I have three cousins who are scientists. Due to my father’s prominence in the field of physics, I got to spend a fair amount of time in the presence of other experienced and accomplished scientists. So I think I have some knowledge about science, as well as its uses and limitations.

In recent years I’ve become increasingly convinced that the American population is being deliberately deceived about the very nature of science and have decried the logical consequences of that deceit. It’s as though the educational system has been persuaded to withhold from the student body the most vital information that people need if they are to make any sense of the world around them. Critical thinking is under attack. Logic and reason are out the window. And some of the most bizarre concepts are gaining popularity – concepts that, when embraced, cause the average mind to become incapable of simple reason. I regard this as very unfortunate for those caught up in it, and it is my hope to restore some scientific sanity in the course of writing this article.

Historical Perspective

The world of scientists has a distinct culture which gradually changes as new true information comes to light and new technical words are added to science vocabularies. In spite of these changes, some of the basic language of science has become a permanent feature of our culture because thousands of scientists in interrelated fields find that language to be consistently useful. That basic language embodies a number of powerful definitions and conceptual tools without which our analytic process would cease to be science. And it is the logical and mathematical consistency of that set of conceptual tools that is currently under attack.

The fundamentals of science are very simple. Understanding them requires no math whatever. If you can enjoy reading a novel you can understand the foundations of science. Here they are, numbered for future reference.

1. Truth and Falsehood

The methodology we call “science” has but one purpose – to distinguish true information from false information. Many other purposes have been attributed to science, and it does support other purposes; but in and of itself, its sole purpose is just to divide information into two categories – True and False.

In order to understand how science accomplishes this feat, it is necessary to define another concept: Intelligence. There are two logically equivalent ways of doing this.

A. Intelligence is the ability to predict and control events in the discernible universe.

B. Intelligence is the ability to initiate and maintain causal relationships between events in the discernible universe.

With intelligence so defined, we can now define the terms “true information” and “false information.”

True information is that which, when believed to be true, increases the intelligence of the believer – and which, when believed to be false diminishes the intelligence of the believer.

False information has the opposite effect. When believed to be true it diminishes the intelligence of the believer and when believed to be false increases said intelligence.

The usual way of determining the truth of a statement is by means of experiment, though statements that are internally inconsistent are deemed false without resort to experimentation. So, for example, the statement, “2+2=4 AND 2+2=5” would be considered false without experimental testing.

2. Methodology

Most people are aware that in the most simplistic descriptions of science, the methodology employed consists of defining a hypothesis (statement) about an observable phenomenon and then testing that hypothesis experimentally. If the results of the experiment are repeatable and replicable by multiple observers and the results are consistent,the hypothesis is promoted to the status of a theory, in which case the hypothesis has been heuristically accepted as True information. While this description of the scientific method suffices for the novice, it is not quite adequate for a sophisticated scientist. To complete the explanation of the scientific method we need to recognize that an experiment is presumed to answer a question about the adequacy of the hypothesis under the conditions to which the hypothesis is presumed to apply. To do this properly, in the context of “science” the question to be answered must meet the criterion known as the Operational Point of View.

3. Operational Point of View

The experiment performed to test a hypothesis has to answer a properly formed scientific question, and not all questions meet this criterion. Think of an experiment as an operation that answers a question. When the question is of the form, “Is statement X true?”, we do not have a properly formed scientific question, because to be “scientific” a question must define, or at least imply, the specific operation that is to be performed in order to determine the answer.

So, for example, the question, “What time is it?” is not a scientific question; whereas the question “What time is it according to my mechanical clock?” is scientific, because it defines the operation or experiment that is to give us the answer. In this case the experiment consists of reading the dial on a particular clock.

This definition of a scientific question is often regarded by scientists as the “Basic Philosophy of Science”.

4. Theoretical Domains

Still another important understanding shared by all knowledgeable scientists is the concept of the Theoretical Domain. A theory is not expected to apply everywhere, at all times, and under all conditions. So to be scientific a theory must include a definition of the physical domain or realm to which it applies.

So, for example, the theory known as Newtonian Mechanics applies to objects that Isaac Newton was able to observe – objects like planets, apples, pulleys, buckets, and bullets. What these objects have in common is that they have “mass”; their speed is very slow compared with the speed of light; and they are very large (massive) compared with electrons and atoms. For objects that don’t fit these criteria, different theories must be applied. The theory of Electrodynamics works really well for things that move at speeds approaching the speed of light; and the theory of Quantum Mechanics works very reliably to describe the behavior of very small things, like photons and electrons.

5. Cause and Effect

Until the appearance of Quantum Mechanics, scientists of every variety recognized the “law” of cause and effect. The basics of this constraint are that every event has a cause, and that the cause must always precede the effect. The usual description of a causal relationship between two events requires that the earlier event transfers energy or momentum to the time and location of the second event. This presumption applies perfectly to both the Newtonian domain and the Electrodynamic domain. The Quantum Mechanical domain, however, doesn’t work quite the same way, for reasons that are not altogether clear to scientists today. In the Quantum domain, highly accurate predictions can be made that do not require the same kind of causality needed in the other theories, and one can make a case to the effect that some events take place without any cause.

6. Logical and Mathematical Inference

There are phenomena in the physical universe that are not discernible to the human senses – things like energy, momentum, fields, and probability. Despite this fact, scientists regard these phenomena as part of reality, and name them accordingly. Scientists understand that their mathematical descriptions of reality are not the realities themselves – that metaphorically the map is not the territory. But as long as the resulting predictions are accurate, precise, and consistent, the mathematical constructs are usefully interchangeable with direct observation.

As an example, consider the motion of a large solid object such as a baseball. As long as the object undergoes no rotation, its motion in response to (causal) external forces can be accurately predicted by calculating the trajectory of a particle of equal mass located at a point within the object called the “center of mass” of the object. The mass of the object is not all located at a point, but the calculation yields an extremely accurate prediction of how the center of the object will move. This is particularly useful when calculating missile ballistics and planetary orbits.

7. Indirect Observation

In science it is always satisfying when observations can be made with the unaided “naked eye”. Unfortunately, there are many phenomena of interest to scientists that do not permit this approach. On the bright side, scientists have created tools and instruments that extend the capabilities of the human senses in a variety of ways. Microscopes, telescopes, light-sensitive films, scintillation counters, X-ray scanners, dosimeters, and radar detectors are just a few of these devices. In science it is assumed that observations and measurements made by such indirect means provide valid information as long as the inherent limitations of the devices used are taken into account and the logical inferences relating the devices to the real world are themselves predictably consistent.

8. Other Considerations

There are a few other ideas implicit in the scientific method. For instance it is assumed that space exists and that it is the same everywhere – so that the physics and chemistry that are applicable here work the same way elsewhere. Until we have reason to think otherwise, we presume that causality works differently at the quantum level and we look forward hopefully to a day when we can resolve the Gödelian paradoxes that have prevented us from creating a theory that combines Newtonian Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, and General Relativity in a single unified structure. Science acknowledges many unanswered questions – some as simple as, “Why do electrons all have the same charge?” – a still unanswered question after 100 years or so of inquiry.

Science Under Attack

It is widely understood that western schools, including private schools to some degree, are “dumbing the kids down” – withholding important information about money, ethics, law, government, and science. Instead of creating innovative pioneering entrepreneurs, the schools are, for the most part, producing obedient employees incapable of creative thinking – most of them convinced that their emotional reactions are far more important than facts, logic, and rational inquiry. Observing this, I used to think it was just due to the bureaucratization of the school system hierarchy – the gradual elimination of corrective feedback that accelerated with the advent of the “common core” curriculum. Now I’ve come to believe something even much more sinister is taking place.

It has been apparent to me for quite some time that the control of the world has been taken over by a gang of psychopathic bandits who plunder more than 99% of the resources that each of us would have had access to were it not for their depredations. Most of us are literally living off the crumbs that fall from their tables. At this point I am very suspicious of the possibility that they are buying the work of some really pernicious propagandists to discourage critical thinking on an enormous scale. The specific activities to which I am referring are popularly referred to as “Flat Earth” and “Rational Science”.

The Flat Earth Proposition

I trust most people are aware that there is a growing number of people who claim that the earth is not a spinning, almost spherical ball exhibiting the characteristics described by astrophysics, solid geometry, and Newtonian Mechanics. No no. We are to believe that that model of the earth is a hoax created by NASA – and the basic “argument” to that effect is that government (especially NASA) lies. This statement is credible to many because government is primarily comprised of politicians who lie all the time. Based on video evidence I’ve seen, I think it likely that NASA never made it to the moon, which of course would mean they lied about it. But the fact that NASA lies doesn’t prove that the earth is flat – and neither do any of the other “proofs” that flat earth proponents set forth. Most of those “proofs” ignore all of the characteristics outlined above that define science.

The really intriguing feature of this phenomenon is the way flat earthers deride, belittle, and make fun of anyone who engages with them in the spirit of collaborative scientific investigation. In my 70+ years as a scientist, that is something I’ve never witnessed before. It seems in some way pathological – but there it is.

Rational Science”

I recently encountered another group that seem intent on discrediting science and that engages in ridicule, ad hominem attacks, and actual name-calling when asked politely to answer a few reasonable questions about their “rational scientific method”. My core observation of this group’s idea is that it violates almost all the definitive criteria that I’ve outlined above as fundamental to what I know as science. They claim (falsely) that the purpose of science is to “explain” how the world works; but the only explaining they recognize as valid is a kind of Newtonian intuition that can only be applied to objects of known shape and position.

While there are some interesting features to this fantasy, it does nothing to increase intelligence while systematically misleading the reader as to the nature of science. The most problematic feature is the fact that it uses many words commonly used in science and claims to be science, when in fact it is not – at least not as I’ve defined science above, and not as scientists have defined it for hundreds of years. I suggested to a “rational science” forum that their interesting new discipline should perhaps be called Gaedence instead of science – in honor of Bill Gaede, the method’s chief creator – who called me names when I started asking questions based on my understanding of what science is. I disengaged from that conversation as soon as the ridicule began, knowing that further inquiry would be futile – that I was confronting a propagandist, not a scientist.

Conclusion

Science, as I’ve defined it above, is the best, most accurate, most reliable means humans have created to distinguish true information from false information. So concern about the possible disenfranchisement of science and scientists is something to be taken seriously.

To that end I would pose the question, “Who stands to gain if people distrust science or are confused about what it is or why it is needed”?

I speculate that those individuals who are spending billions of dollars to suppress truth itself are behind this evil trend. We know who some of these people are. They are the politicians, the professional liars who are supporting, condoning, and implementing the current massive attack on truth and those who tell the truth. They are, however, the robotic servants of another group – the ultra-wealthy bankers and industrialists who own the world and who are intent on owning the world’s people. I usually refer to this group, somewhat sarcastically, as the “nobility”, because just a few centuries ago they were the kings and high priests of the world – slaughtering their enemies and plundering the commoners. It’s the same group today. Only the labels have changed.

A world characterized by peace, prosperity, and freedom is possible, but unlikely. For it to be achieved, certain steps are necessary. Establishment of a truly free market, emancipation of the law enforcers (Yes, they too are slaves), and the worldwide proliferation of small ethical societies are the most effective outcomes available to us. There is no guarantee these goals are attainable – but there is also no guarantee that they are not.

Clearly, we dreamers who have not given up have a lot of work to do.

The Bill of Ethics

 

The Bill Of Ethics

Introduction

The following Bill of Ethics was written by Robert Podolsky and Gregory Sulliger in 1993. It is an interpretation and extension of the work of John David Garcia, as presented so thoroughly and clearly in his book, Creative Transformation.

Organizations of all types can use it to amend or define their founding constitutions or by-laws.

Preamble

We, the undersigned officers constituting a quorum of (Name of Organization)___________________________ do hereby adopt the following “Bill of Ethics” as the highest priority policy for governing all our future actions and procedures, both in our dealings with those outside our organization and in our relationships with members and/or employees within our ranks. Henceforth all other written and unwritten rules of conduct for persons associated with this organization shall be understood, reinterpreted, or if need be revised to conform to the definitions and principles stated in this Bill of Ethics.

ARTICLE 1: Philosophy & Rationale of This Bill of Ethics

1.1 WHEREAS this organization exists for the pursuit of ethical purposes by ethical means;

1.2 WHEREAS the charter of this organization establishes the right of its officers to alter and reform governing policies as they may think proper; and

1.3 WHEREAS the officers and members and of this organization have expressed their belief that the establishment of a Bill of Ethics would substantially promote the rights and well-being of all who come in contact with this organization;

1.4 THEREFORE the policy of this organization is hereby amended, this Bill of Ethics being appended thereto.

ARTICLE 2: Definitions

2.1 We believe it to be self evident that people are neither “good” nor “evil” except as their acts are “good” or “evil”

2.2 And that a person’s actions are “good” (or equivalently “just” or “ethical”) if they increase the creativity of at least one person, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing the creativity of any person, including the person acting.

2.3 Since creativity is the product of ethical awareness and intelligence (as symbolized by the equation: C = EI) there are two ways an act may increase creativity.

2.3.1 An act may increase creativity by increasing someone’s ethical awareness, degree of personal evolution, love, and/or growth, these creativity enhancers being logical equivalents of one another, in that any act which increases one of them must necessarily increase the others, and vice-versa;

2.3.2 An act may increase creativity by increasing the intelligence of any person who uses their intelligence creatively rather than destructively; where access to objective truth, access to energy, and freedom are enhancers of intelligence, since they increase one’s ability to predict and control the environment or to initiate and maintain causal relationships between events in the observable world.

2.4 The lists of equivalent creativity enhancers given above are incomplete. There may in fact be an unlimited number of such equivalencies that apply. Hereinafter we shall use the words, “ethical awareness” to include all of its logical equivalents, and the word “intelligence” to similarly encompass all of its logical equivalents. The word “creativity” will be used to encompass both the preceding sets of resources, the distinctions between the two sets being duly noted.

2.5 From the preceding it follows logically that it is ethical to limit or reduce a person’s intelligence in order to stop or prevent that person from acting destructively (unethically). This is generally accomplished ethically by limiting or reducing that individual’s access to intelligence enhancers.

2.6 Where by “person” is meant any being having awareness of its own awareness… thus excluding those lower forms of life whose actions are merely “natural”; and to whom this Bill of Ethics does not apply.

2.7 And acts which limit or reduce another person’s creativity (or any of the equivalent resources listed in Section 2.2 above) are – with the exception explained in Section 2.5 above – generally “bad”, or equivalently “evil”, “unethical”, or “entropic”

2.8 And further, that good and evil acts by aware beings fall on an ethical continuum… where the best (most ethical)acts are those which contribute the most to the evolution of an individual or a group… and the worst (most unethical) are those which most increase the entropy (chaos or disorder) thereof;

2.9 And still further, that acts which are not “ethical” according to Section 2.2 above and which are not “unethical” according to Section 2.7 above may be said to be “ethically neutral”, “innocent”, “trivial”, or merely “natural”.

ARTICLE 3: Principles

3.01 From the foregoing self-evident truths we infer that to act ethically each person must do his/her utmost to maximize creativity and its equivalents;

3.02 That ethical actions always increase someone’s creativity;

3.03 And that ethical actions never destroy, limit, or diminish anyone’s creativity except as described in Section 2.5 above.

3.04 And from the foregoing we infer that unethical means can never achieve ethical ends… this principle rejecting the notion that we can ethically sacrifice the creativity of the individual for the “greater good” of society, the “many”, and so forth; from which it follows that:

3.05 Unethical means always produce unethical results (ends); trivial means always produce trivial results at best; and similarly

3.06 Means which are not ethical ends in themselves are never ethical;

3.07 From the foregoing it is also apparent that inaction is unethical. Creativity cannot be passively expanded or increased… this must be done actively to overcome entropic destruction inherent in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This principle is basically equivalent to the adage that, “For evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing.”

3.08 It also follows that it is unethical to tolerate unethical behavior. To do so is to violate Section 3.07 above. For this reason we are ethically bound to defend ourselves and others actively against injury or deceit when we or they are imminently imperiled by another’s unethical behavior; from which:

3.08.1 It follows that it is unethical to augment the creativity of anyone whom one reasonably believes will use such augmented resources unethically… and it is therefore ethical to withhold the augmentation of creative resources from anyone whose ethical commitment one reasonably distrusts; and furthermore:

3.09 It is ethical to learn and unethical to be certain. When we close our minds on a subject we cease to learn… to increase our own awareness and creativity. Learning always increases creativity; and

3.10 It is ethical to doubt. Ceasing to have doubts about a subject we become certain about it and have ceased to learn. Doubts create new questions …some of which yield new answers. Doubt is one of the cornerstones of creativity.

ARTICLE 4: Laws, Rules And Regulations
Compatible With This Bill of Ethics

4.1 Be it understood that the proper role of an organization’s laws, rules and regulations is to empower those people acting singly or in concert who would embrace the foregoing Definitions and Principles set forth in Articles 2 and 3 above and who are willing to make the moral commitment to live their lives as ethically as they can… as suggested by Section 3.01.

4.2 And it is also the proper role of laws, rules and regulations to prohibit, by the most ethical means possible, any actions which are unethical as defined above.

4.3 Nor is it ever the proper role of rules and regulations to intrude, coerce, or interfere, in the lives of any people except as is truly necessary in order to accomplish the aims of Sections 4.1 and 4.2 above …such intrusion even then to be that which is minimally required.

4.4 Moreover, whenever the laws, rules and regulations of an organization are in conflict with said Definitions and Principles the ethics shall prevail …the rules being deemed to exist solely as the servant of the ETHICS, the latter being always superior to the rules.

4.5 RESPONSIBILITY for actions: Under the aegis of ethical rules and regulations compatible with this Bill of Ethics:

4.5.1 All people are responsible for their own actions and the consequences which result from those actions. In determining who shall bear the burden of financial or other costs when someone’s actions result in harm to another person, ultimate (though not sole or total) responsibility rests with the individual who had the last available opportunity to prevent such undesirable effects from occurring.

4.5.2 Also, responsibility under ethical rules is not mitigated by the failure of an individual to understand, comprehend, rationalize, or anticipate the consequences of his or her acts… except as such failure may alter the availability of opportunities to prevent harm from occurring.

4.5.3 In any case, persons who enact harm on others in a self-induced state of mental incompetence (e.g. intoxicated) may still be required to bear the costs of the consequences of their actions when the act of inducing such incompetence was the chronologically last opportunity anyone had to prevent the unethical act from being performed.

4.5.4 Harm enacted by one person on another is solely justifiable when necessary in self or another’s defense against the person harmed.

ARTICLE 5: Cooperation of Officials

5.1 NON-INTERFERENCE: No elected or appointed Official, officer, or employee shall take direct or indirect action or exert direct or indirect influence which would result in the circumvention, deflection, abrogation, evasion of or interference with the purpose of this Bill of Ethics.

5.2 PENALTY:Any person found to be violating Section 5.1 above shall be reprimanded or removed from their position office or appointment as determined by the authority cited below.

5.3 JURISDICTION: Jurisdiction for purposes of this Bill of Ethics, shall be with the board of directors of this organization.

ARTICLE 6: Previously Existing Rules And Policies

6.1 CONFORMITY: Henceforth all the rules, regulations, and policies of this organization, whether they originate at board, executive, managerial, supervisory level or below shall be brought into compliance with this Bill of Ethics within (time period)__________of this date

6.2 Wherever this amendment conflicts with or contradicts other rules, regulations, or policies, be they written or unwritten, this measure shall supersede and take precedence over the other, it being the ultimate touchstone for valid procedural regulation throughout this organization.

Officers’ Signatures:                    Date:

 

______________________________    __________

______________________________    __________

______________________________    __________

______________________________    __________
The foregoing Bill of ethics is intended for the formal use of contracts, bylaws, and constitutions – legal purposes generally. the Bill of Ethics embodied in the Titanian Code of Honor. Meanwhile, as Paragraph 3.05 above indicates, ethical ends can never be achieved by unethical means. Since this is counter-intuitive for many readers, we need to look more closely at the relationship between ethical means and ethical ends.