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Science

Science vs Anti-science


Its interesting when one finds themselves a minority (well, actually worse than that; I was alone) in a community where most of the people can be described as either:

(1) Closed minded, and / or

(2) Of a certain bias, and ‘exceptional’ at shielding the holes in their arguments.

Yesterday I found myself at the torrential and sorry end of a blog of Evolution proponents (possibly can even describe the lot as fundamentalists). I read a number of their articles, and saw some YouTube videos they had. Liked the site, very well written and informative.

But I made a mistake. A simple comment that suggested that both science and anti-science (which i figured was their reference to things such as religion, or other unexplainable phenomena) answered different questions, and in my view, neither could substitute the other, because neither was capable of sufficiently explaining the other; That it was arrogant to suggest that just because you can’t measure it YET today, with your limited equipment, then it doesn’t exist, and you will never be able to measure it tomorrow.

My….the firebomb that exploded as a result of this simple but logical proposition, was beyond belief. Every subsequent commenter jumped at my throat and scores of people began twisting what I had just said, to score points off me.

I then made another huge mistake. By referencing to a fictional story I once received in an email, which i didn’t think much of at the time, but which I believed revealed a critical anomaly in one aspect of scientific thought.

And that was when the attacks became personal. Taunts that I was not a scientist  (did they really expect that I would reveal my identity to them – I don’t think they are that important); You are a creationist! A troll! That, if I were a scientist, I couldn’t possibly be a competent scientist, blah blah blah.

Do these people really expect all scientists to think alike? To be arrogant, like they were?  Have they not met a scientist who is open-minded, has confidence in empirical research and evidence, but is open-minded on the possibility of a higher power (which may not be called “god” {or again, maybe it is God} and which science may not be able to “scientifically” prove [or disprove] its existence – primarily by virtual of the limits inherent in scientific equipment, which is better today than it was yesterday, and by jove, will be much more advanced tommorrow than is the case today). Among the questions which i posed were: What did the world look like 70 years ago when many scientific discoveries were unknown? Did those discoveries not exist, just because we didn’t know about them? How arrogant is it then to assume that within the next 70 years, your research won’t propel you into obscure areas to enable you for example to explain phenomena such as “Ghosts”? To communicate with alien life, and for that matter, in their own language?

Further DID  IT  NATURALLY FOLLOW THEN THAT JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN’T MEASURE A CERTAIN TYPE OF EXPRESSION/ PHENOMENA, THAT SUCH A POWER / PHENOMENA WAS NON EXISTENT?

Was existential state of something not limited by the sensing medium or diagnostic method?

Got so much garbage thrown at me from the lot; all sorts of looneys grabbing at my throat, I swear, if this were a medieval court, I would have been condemned to death and beheaded by the lot yesterday. That’s how hostile and violent the whole episode was. These guys are extremists. In every sense of the word. Show me a fundamentalist and I will show you a science fanatic, who is so tribal in defending his profession, he’s become closed minded.

Not a single open-minded person willing to consider my simple fact:

“Just because your equipment is not advanced enough to detect something..aliens, God, etc..doesn’t necessarily mean that that something doesn’t exist.”

In any case, science can’t even explain thoughts, and over the years, there have been tons of examples where scientists have got it terribly wrong. [See a few examples  here, here , here and here].

But that doesn’t make science inferior. Not at all. Instead what it means is that it is improving (interestingly just yesterday was the annoucement that scientists at CERN may have found the Higgs Boson). Its getting better. Yet the crowd I met came across as frightened to even acknowledge that there was still a lot to be learned, and what we didn’t yet know didn’t mean it didn’t exist.

Phwoar. The fury and arrogance I uncovered by making this simple, humble and logical premise ….

To make matters worse, I gave another example. That of antimatter. (more about antimatter here) That how Arthur Schuster who first used the term had merely speculated about its existence, and it was not a serious theoretical proposal. But as advances in science were made, so has more light been shed on the matter, such that what we now know on antimatter far exceeds what was known back in 1930.

But even that fell on deaf ears, as everybody focused their strengths only on attacking me and the story I used to exemplify my line of thought. And not addressing any of my reasoning.

For sometime yesterday, I felt inadequate. Genuinely wished I had not been a Mathematician, as I couldn’t clearly explain a very simple point to people who I wrongly thought were smarter, and should know better.

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