Monday, August 25, 2003

wisdom, values, and science

One of the reasons i purused a ph.d. was to learn how to do science. i always thought it was cool. actually what i thought was even cooler when an undergraduate was the idea of "truth" -- that seemed just wonderful.

well, while in graduate school, it dawned on me pretty quickly that i wasn't going to find "truth" through the application of the scientific method. why? too much error. error is a technical term for "well, we really can't do what we say we are going to do, and due to the fact that we are human and things human are inherently limited, we aren't going to admit either of these, because we REALLY want to do this mathematical thing, so we are going to define that stuff that does not fit into the model of what we want to do, 'error'." error in science is like collateral damage in war -- and i am sure equally as lethal in many settings. but, just like no one wants to talk about how collateral damage is actually innocent people who have been brutally and inconsequentially killed, no one likes to talk about error being an indication of how inaccurate and inappropriate the model is. "error" sounds cool and really technical, so most ph.d. yahoos throw it around like it is a real thing and that it really does exist. nonsense.

now, i do favor systematic data collection. i think that this is a great way to counter insanity. doesn't always work, because, 9:10, as Joe Walsh once said, "you can't argue with a sick mind" -- think of the current administration nixing the kyoto protocol despite the fact that over 100 Nobel Laureates were in favor of it. systematic data collection, along with other forms of data collection serves to provide a fairly complete indication of what is going on, so it is very, very useful.

so, science is limited -- in its design, and in its relevance.

what is/are not?


as noted by Sri Enath Easwaran below, love (which is a value) informs action. when one truly loves another (selflessly, without regard for how doing so might benefit oneself), widsom and knowing are born. in those instances, science is irrelevant. knowledge and wisdom are relevant.

i also think that values trump scienitific knowledge in another way. as noted above, the yahoos who are intent on destroying the world in "order to save it" can dismiss any kind of scientific finding. what they can't dismiss is exposure of what they are really about. this is done through exposing their values. George et al claim that they are interested in freedom, peace, etc. It is obvious by their actions that they are not. all one needs to do is to make this point clear -- when one bombs another country, one is NOT about peace, one does NOT value peace, one is about violence, one VALUES violence. when one muzzles reporters one is NOT about freedom of the press, one is about censorship, etc.

the thing that protrects their duplicity is thier privilege. they can easily dismiss any challenge. why? because they can say, "that is irrelevant" and no one challenges them. you know when you are close to exposing their duplicity by how angry they are.

i do think that if the american public were made aware of their duplicity, explained in simple terms, many more people would be outraged. if their REAL values were exposted, people would be outraged. this could be coming, but there is no guarantee that it will.

No comments: