Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Paul Gorman (
22 Aug 1996 17:58:07 GMT

Silveroak ( wrote:
: Paul Gorman ( wrote:

: : One could advance the argument that science is 'better' because it
: : presumes less. It does not invoke a metaphysical entity to explain
: : percieved reality. It simply *assumes* that the universe that we see
: : around us is real. That which is real can be modeled though the models
: : are never the equivalent of the reality (no more than maps are the
: : territory). To the extent that the models predict the observed
: : behaviours (and new observations based (e.g.) on new instruments) they
: : are accurate representations. The degree of accuracy varies...

: It makes more assumptions than that! It assumes, to begin with, that
: none of the phenominon it seeks to explain are influenced by an unobserved
: sentient being (non sentient beings, following predictable behavior patterns,
: are irrelevent). Thus anything that was influenced by such a being science
: would have to find another explination for, ussually involving the suggestion
: of fraud. (Gee, if we can achieve the same results by fraud, it must be fraud
: every time).

If the unobserved sentient beings exist and influence all the phenomena we
observe and we assume that they are (in principle at least) observable, then
this is an empirical hypothesis. By what mechanism do you suggest these
beings influence the phenomena we observe? What is the nature of their
influence? These are among the questions your hypothesis throws up *if* the
entities in question are observable? Is it useful to seek an answer for

Probably not. Consider the case of gravity? We can assume that there
are unobserved entities causing things to fall (and that if so their
behaviours are remarkably consistent) and cast about for evidence of
their existence. But we already have a working model which provides
consistent results without invoking any unobserved sentient beings.
A simpler one based simply on the assumption that what we percieve is

This has been a rather longwinded way of saying that your argument in
no way contradicts mine. If your sentient beings are *unobserved* then
they do not really contradict the view that science builds from an
assumption of that what we observe is real.

OTOH if your unobserved beings are in principle unobservable then we
can derive no empirical hypotheses about them. They are metaphysical
entities and fall entirely outside the realm of science.

: It also assumes consistancy, and assumes that reality is objectively
: defined- otherwise repeatability would not be an issue (if you repeat an
: expiriment in a subjectively defined universe, you will obtain the same result
: since you will *expect* the same result, unless you strongly disbelieve in the
: orriginal expiriment...)
: Also, by implication, it assumes that it would be to our benefit to
: have knowledge of the infinitly minute mechanisms by which the universe
: functions- the one assumption which has consistenly borne out.

Consistancy is observed not assumed. We observe that things fall when we
drop them. The question of whether they will always fall when we drop them
cannot be answered. The question of whether the universe is objective or
subjective is entirely irrelevant since in either case we are assuming the
realness of reality and asking questions which yield empical hypotheses about
what we observe.

I fail entirely to see where benefit comes into things. Science does
produce benefits for the world in general. It also produces horrors.
The perception of benefit or horror though is entirely a shade of opinion.
It is simply a function of how we choose to define 'benefit'.

: Also, while I am on the topic, do you not fin it strangely coincidental
: that the one time science has come to two contradictory conclusions (quantum
: physics, wave & particle, though the two models are mutually exclusive, and
: only one will occur at a time...) was when two different scientists were
: purusing opposite trains of investigation simultaneously without communication
: between them? It would certainly seem to argue for the subjective universe
: model.

I don't know that you've understood quantum mechanics or it's history.

Quantum mechanics arose from the inability of either the wave or the
particle model to account for the observed behaviour of the entities
that they were supposed to model. The observation that these entities
appeared to act as both waves and particles made a new paradigm necessary:
'wave-particle' duality. What we observe is real, we observe this, it
models well like this...

: In fact, so would the general history of technology, from a different
: perspective- when people were suspicious of machines, and refered to them as
: infernal devices, they were prone to breakdown and inefficient. As people came
: to believe in technology, devices became more reliable and less prone to
: malfuntion- even the brand spanking new devices! Perhaps as the view of the
: masses towards technology changed, it became easier to develop technology...

Perhaps fewer people threw spanners in the works. I honestly fail to
see how this is relevant. Please explain.

: : Are the predictions of scientific models more accurate in determining
: : the outcome of a series of events? Less accurate? None of the above?
: Depends upon the events in question. I have certainly seen a number
: of trails of events for which the scientific prediction was wrong. In my case,
: several of those events deal with the way that gravity functions...

None of which invalidates what I said. If a scientific model
determines the outcome of a series of events more accurately than
another, alternative, model then it is preferable. And vice versa.
In fact if your alternative model explains the observed result of
a series of events more accurately than the current scientific model
then pretty soon it (or a hacked variant) will *be* the scientific model.