Below are some thoughts I threw together for a Social media post.
Not sure how they will weather… lets see!
This has now extended into 2 parts of which this is part 1.
Science is no escape from the human condition… that gospel purported by many…is false.
Though we may increase in mastery over nature…certainty will always escape us… thus science is a pragmatic pursuit, not a source of absolute knowledge.
With every new answer comes new question.
We will always rely on axioms and presuppositions… we cannot escape the need for faith… which underpins what we think we know… even the things we are most sure about….
I am an Engineer by trade having served as an apprentice back in the 80s.
I studied General science and Engineering at high school… two subjects I excelled in given I enjoyed them both, yet to get into the Engineers class meant not being allowed to study ‘physics’ and ‘chemistry’ as two independent classes that were more specialist than general science.
The School must have thought General science was sufficient for engineers! (There is an element of truth to this)
Anyway I have never regretted my decision to learn a trade via ‘Hands on apprenticeship system’… we would spend several months a year at a Technical institute learning theory, the rest was learning on the job. I did a ‘fitting and turning’ apprenticeship which is machine work… lathes mills, etc plus ‘fitting’ which was welding and fabrication, and mechanic stuff. Best of all at you are earning coin and don’t graduate with a massive student debt.
Yet you learn ‘different’ things via an apprenticeship than what you learn when you go to University.
We learn mostly Newtons theories of Physics rather than Einstein’s.
And that does in the end have it’s disadvantages as I will confess to struggling with matters of Relativity and the claims of Quantum Physics… which I must do my best to learn at home by dent of my own desire to learn.
I must content myself at best with Laymen’s understanding.
I do accept that Einstein had a more accurate model for how the universe functions and that the State of the Art requires utilisation of his equations.
This achievement of Einstein to challenge Newton in itself must be one of the most important contentions that must be factored into… and embodied in any ‘philosophy of science’ if you hope to have a valid understanding of what science is… and what it is not.
Newton appeared absolute and unquestionable!
That was ‘the verdict of Science’.
Anyone who questioned him was automatically a crackpot.
Mad Einstein did exactly that… and in so doing exploded the notion that Science is a foundation for absolute truth… absolute knowledge… Newton was overthrown, and cracks are beginning to appear even in Einstein. This should at least rattle the nerves of arrogant ‘know it alls’ who think they have attained God-like certainty and omniscience!
Given we now know how little we know that such attitudes still hold sway says more about Human beings irrationality and prejudice… and incapacity for objectivity. Don’t you think?
On the other hand by grounding myself in swaff and metal filings … and big hammers and avoiding the indoctrinations of ivory tower intellectuals has given me ‘a freedom of thought’… whereby I stand on the outside… looking in at all the whack claims being made by Quantum physics, etc… and intuitively I can see these guys are wallowing in math-madness…
for example their massive claims about Dark matter! To me it is as mythical as the Loch Ness monster! I don’t buy into it…. and sure enough new theories arise that relegate ‘Dark matter’ to the dustbin of vain imagination.
Science is a learning process at best… never mistake wild assertions as actual facts!
For the sort of Engineering I do Newton is still King!
Yet we learn that ‘correlation does not prove causation…’ a very important thing to understand in our age of computer modeling whereby almost any hair-brain idea can be given ‘credence’ by fiddling with numbers and parameters.
I would suggest that Global warming is founded upon such pseudo-scientific modeling that was bespoke made to accommodate Political aspirations…
Michael Mann’s ‘Hockey stick graph’ is today absolutely debunked yet the damage it has done in skewing science has been incalculable.
The science is far from settled… on anything.
Have a nice day!