Archives for posts with tag: Science

On the other hand, Newton was also ‘discredited’ by Einstein…

Not to mention how discredited had been Aristotle, the scientist, by those who came after him!

Yet nobody speaks badly about either Aristotle or Newton.
Because they are considered ‘stepping stones’…

https://www.britannica.com/…/Aristotle/The-unmoved-mover

It had to do with FOCUS.

The answer, like always, is to be found inside the question which generates it.

“If socialism is so bad, how did the Soviet Union produce so many scientists.”

The key word here is ‘produce’.
First of all, Russia did have an important cultural and scientific tradition to start with.
Secondly, the communist leaders – mostly Lenin but more or less all of them, had a clear understanding of the literacy gap which separated Russia from the rest of the world. Filling that gap was the first step towards Russia/the Soviet Union becoming a First Tier country. Hence the ‘free, standard, universally available education’.

But there’s a caveat here.
When we’re speaking about education – in the West, we mean ‘everything already known to man’.
Students are allowed to read everything in the library – except for certain places in the US, but those are exceptions.
When we speak about the education in the Soviet Union we must remember that each of the ‘free, standard and universally available’ aspects had its own limitations.
It was free in the sense that everybody – well, almost – had the right to apply for it. Actually getting it was something else.
It was standard in the sense that it was standardized. Only what was deemed safe/useful was allowed to reach the students.
It was universally available in the sense that everybody was subjected to some form of education. Much of which was nothing more than indoctrination…

Finally, let’s remember that the Soviet Union was able to produce scientists only for so long. Until it collapsed under it’s own weight…

Moral of the story?

Producing scientists is not enough.
Science teaches you only how to do whatever you want to do.
What to want… that’s something else!

We learn about what we call reality by
analyzing the information we acquire through our senses.

We.
We, the human people.
We, the conscious human people.
We, because nobody has ever been able to become conscious – as in aware of their own self, by their own. Alone…

Learn.
We are not the only ones who are able to learn.
Our dogs learn our ways. And we continuously learn about more and more living organisms being able to learn. And to remember what they have learned. To fine tune their behavior according to the circumstances into which they happen to live.

What we call reality.
First and fore-most, reality is a concept. We call it ‘reality’. And many other names…
Believers call it ‘god’, scientists call it ‘physical world’ and the scientists who happen to believe are convinced that by studying the reality they will eventually divine the will of the Lord.
The believers being convinced that whatever exists, is here because the Lord wished it into existence.
So, basically, the main difference between the believers and the nonbelievers is the fact that the believers are convinced that the ‘out-there’, the ‘source of it all’, has a conscience of it’s own. A will of it’s own…

By analyzing.
We have been able to build our conscience – our ability to ‘observe ourselves while observing other phenomena’ (Maturana, 2005), because we have a big enough brain, the ability to share complex and meaningful information using language and the ability to put in practice some of our wishes/thoughts through the use of our hands.
At a certain point in its evolution, human conscience has become sophisticated enough to need explanations. It was no longer satisfied with mere ‘connections’ – If… then…, it had started to wonder about why-s. ‘Why does this happen as it does?’ ‘Will it happen again tomorrow?’
Using our by then already established ability to speak up their minds, our ancestors shared among themselves these ‘anxieties’. Discussed them around the fire-place. Started to analyze. The reality. What they perceived to be real. The ‘thing’ which continuously generates the circumstances in which we – all of us, have to make do.

Information.
In order to analyze, the analyst – each and everyone of us, has to separate the meaningful information from the surrounding noise. In order to do that, we have started by coining the very concept of (useful/meaningful) information. As being different from ‘noise’. The difference consisting, obviously, in us being able to find its use and/or pinpoint its meaning.

We acquire.
Information is acquired on an individual basis. For an ‘event’ to become information, it has to be ‘noticed’ by an individual. It has not only to be sensed but also identified as useful/meaningful. Different from ‘noise’.
Which process of identification implying methods which had been agreed upon by the members of the community. Music would be a good example of how various groups of people make the difference between sublime/abhorrent and white-noise. While ‘use of language’ is a very poignant example of how people can both share information and mislead one-another.

Senses.
Everything that we know, had entered our mind through our senses.
Before setting it aside as information or discard it as noise, we have to get in contact with it as a sensation.
Or as a thought. A conjecture. A few pieces of information which put together have given birth, inside our individual mind, to new information. To ‘something else’ which passes the threshold into being information. At least according to our own mind…

Which transforms our minds into our famous sixth sense.
In the sense that our individual minds are capable of building ‘sensations’ on their own. Starting from information that has already been stashed in our memory.
Which brings us to the third reality.

We have – in the sense that we have agreed upon its existence, the surrounding reality. The things we – as in most of us, consider to be real. The mountains we climb, the air we breathe, the pebbles which happen to sneak into our shoes. The reality which is being studied by science. The reality to which we have access through our senses. Our minds and our sense enhancers – scientific instruments, included.

We also have the ‘out-there’. The things we know we’ll never be able to grasp. During our lives! The things our followers might be able to figure out…

And each of us has their own reality.
Individually built even if ‘carved’ from the same (type of) material as the reality shared by the rest of us.
Individually built even if using more or less the same (culturally accrued) methods.
Individually built even if neither of us is alone.

H.M. Romesin, 2005, The origin and conservation of self‐consciousness: Reflections on four questions by Heinz von Foerster

A planned after-thought.
Rumsfeld is both wrong and right. There are unknown unknowns but they are no longer unknown since we speak about them…
Which actually proofs the limits of our languaging.
The imprecision of the manner in which we gather, share and analyze information.

Art – Esthetics – Philosophy.
Techne – Science – Manipulation.
Skills – Technology – Reality 2.0

Art is, maybe, the first form of interaction between us and the place we inhabit.
The first manner in which we ‘ingest’ that place, only to regurgitate it later. The first manner in which we learn about that place and the first manner in which we express what we have just learned.
Esthetics is how we make sense of art. How we organize our ‘first impressions’ regarding the ‘place’ we live in. How we ‘edit’ those impressions in order to make them more easily understandable.
Philosophy is what we made out during the artistic endeavor to learn. The never finished product put together by our ‘digestive system’ out of the artistic interactions we have had with ‘reality’.

Techne is what we do. The transformations we impose unto things in order to make them capable to satisfy our needs. Or our whims…
Science is the process through which we gather information. The information which becomes more and more necessary as our doings take us further and further away from the original reality.
Manipulation is what we do after we consider to have amassed enough information. After we have developed a certain understanding of the world and have decided that time has come for us to ‘take what’s rightfully ours’.

You know what ‘skills’ are. What we’re ‘good at’.
Technology is how we pass our skills to other people. So that we can work in concert. To coordinate our efforts.
The outcome of which is Reality 2.0. The reality we have brought about. The new reality which constitutes reality 1.0 for those currently alive.

The human head works like an organic computer.
It has a ‘hard’ component. Which is actually soft. The brain tissue.
And many levels of ‘software’.

You might want to skip this introductory part if you’re not familiar with/interested in how computers work
The ‘machine code’. The inner workings of the brain. The ‘things’ which continue to function when we’re not at all conscious. Breathing, coordination of the of various organs which keep us alive, etc.
‘Assembly language’. The level which works on ’emotions’/’feelings’. A not yet conscious baby suckles when hungry and cries when uncomfortable. A patient with dementia is not a ‘fully functional human being’ but can learn/retain many human functions.
‘High-level language’. Human conscience. While the ‘machine code’ and the ‘assembly language’ levels run in the ‘background’, human conscience constantly evaluates ‘what’s going on’ and decides ‘the next move’.

Humans, like computers, work a lot better when ‘put together’.
Each individual’s human conscience develops only ‘in concert’ with other people while the most powerful computer chip is ‘dead’ before the operating system has been installed. A (mature) individual human being might survive in isolation, but not for very long. A computer is completely useless if not ‘put to work’ by an ‘operator’. Alone or ‘inside’ a network.

Computers can ‘cooperate’ because we made them so.
Even if using various operating systems and communication protocols, we – humans, have developed them – computers, in such a way that we can communicate with them and they can communicate among themselves.

For humans to be able to communicate among themselves, they need a common language.

Computers do not need to coordinate among themselves. We’ve made them, instructed them, in such a manner that they (still) do what they are told.

For humans to be able to coordinate themselves – to act in a congruent manner, they need to use – or at least to acknowledge, the same referential system.

To think ‘alike’ or, at least, to acknowledge that ‘those who do not think like me/us might have a point’.

Historically speaking, humankind has achieved ‘coherence’ through the use of ‘religion’.

‘Reality’ – which was far more complex ‘before’ simply because the unknown is the place where fantasy is free to give birth to anything, had to be tamed. Translated into ‘operable’ things. Into generally accepted concepts. Into generally accepted ‘myths’.
And for as long as a given set of ‘foundational myths’ had maintained their ‘magic’, the religion which had been developed starting from those myths had continued to be ‘the coalescing factor’ for the community which believed those myths. Or, at least, behaved as if those myths were still ‘valid’.
Whenever those myths had failed – or were no longer enough, the corresponding religion had been quickly replaced. By another.
This was the heave-ho approach. Wholesale replacement of the referential system, which is both ‘wasteful’ and time-consuming.

In time, people have learned that it was far more ‘efficient’ to pay ‘lip service’ to each-other’s opinions
when the other side was too ‘strong’ for outright ‘coercion’. Read “conversion”.

When/where things had become ‘ripe’, some people had invented ‘science’.

Science, like religion, is a manner of thinking. A manner of translating reality into something which can be managed by the human brain.

Religion relies on a set of ‘axioms’. Which had been considered true – by those who had established any given religion, at the moment when that particular religion had been established. When freshly acquired knowledge diverges too far – and too convincingly, from the until then generally accepted ‘founding myths’, the religion which depends on those myths conserving their ‘allure’ is abandoned in totum.

Science, on the other hand, relies on a different set of ‘beliefs’.
Derived from the basic tenet of the Judaeo-Christian creed and no less axiomatic but still different.
The point being that instead of trying to fit any new information into the previously held set of ‘teachings’ science mandates the diligent use of the ‘scientific method’ whenever we attempt to evaluate any ‘piece of knowledge’:

Reproducibility: ‘do I find/learn the same thing each and every time I examine this phenomenon/class of objects using this particular procedure?

Peer review: Does everybody else who examines the same subject, using the same procedure, reach the same results? In earnest?

Falsifiability: Does the subject of our musing have a correspondent in reality? Are we concerned about something which has consequences? Can this particular ‘piece of knowledge’ be proven wrong? Or, at least, incomplete?

The three paragraphs above have described the scientific method yet I still have to mention the Judaeo-Christian belief without which science makes absolutely no sense.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it“.

According to the Old Testament, God had made man to “rule… over all the earth itself”. Which means that God was going to refrain himself from performing other miracles. The Earth being entrusted to the rule of man means that man was going to ‘see’ the same thing each and every time he was looking at the same thing. From that moment, ‘things’ were going to ‘happen’ in a ‘rigorous’ manner. No more ‘hanky-panky’, no more divine intrusion. From then on, things were going to happen according to the ‘law’. ‘Regularly’, hence ‘reproduciblely’. In a consistent manner!
Again according to the Old Testament, ‘God had made man in His image’. Hence all men – and women, had been created equal. In the same image, that is. And all men – and women, harbor something ‘special’. A spark of divinity! They have all been created in the image of God itself, hence they all should respect each-other. And each-others’ opinions! Hence ‘peer-review’.
All that remains to be ‘explained away’ is the small matter of falsifiability. Of science concerning itself only with verifiable subjects. Which brings us back what was the man supposed to rule over. ‘The earth itself’. The realm of reality. Man – men and women, were supposed to rule over ‘reality’, not over other people.
They were supposed to concern themselves with ‘evident’/measurable things found ‘on earth’, not with ‘fancy’ figments of ‘unaccountable imagination’.

Ooops!
If both religion – well, at least the Judaeo-Christian one, and science depend on the same axiom/fundamental myth, then where’s the difference?
As I mentioned before, whenever fresh knowledge contradicts ‘irreparably’ the before held religious convictions, the community who upholding those convictions reaches a ‘passage rite’. Has to either ‘close its eyes’ – actually denying reality, or change its religion. The very definition of the ‘heave-ho’ approach.
For those using the ‘scientific method’, things are a lot simpler. And smoother. For them, reality suffers a constant change. Piece-meal instead of wholesale. ‘Easy-does’ it instead of ‘gung ho’.

One other thing before I let you go.

“If you’re not a scientist, and disagree with scientists about science, that’s not disagreement! You’re just wrong!”

Well, this is the most unscientific thing I’ve read for a long time.
What comes next makes absolute sense. If you apply the scientific method to “Science is not truth. Science is finding the truth.” you determine that the message is consistent, agreed among the peers and falsifiable. Science can be misused and, potentially, the very meaning of the word can change in time. For now, the generally accepted meaning of ‘science’ is, indeed, ‘the path towards truth’. And, by definition, all scientific knowledge is considered to be ‘improvable’. Hence forever ‘not yet true’.
Coming back to the ‘disagreement’ part, this is an obvious ‘sleigh of hand’. For starters, ‘scientists’ do not concern themselves with ‘science’. Each of them controls an area of expertise. Which is not the entire science…
Furthermore, what does it mean ‘you’re not a scientist’?!? You don’t have a formal accreditation? Anybody who uses the scientific method when examining the reality is a scientist, regardless of their credentials.
I presume the author meant well. There are quite a few people out there who are in the ‘business’ of sowing doubt. Who contradict whatever ‘starts their ire’. Who very ‘skillfully’ spin apparently convincing words about subjects of utmost importance. But if we want to remain true to our words, if we want to remain on the straight and narrow path to truth, we must convince our audience with arguments. We must un-spin those ‘words’ in a rigorous manner.
Using the very same set of ‘spinning skills’ downgrades us to ‘their’ level.
As the saying goes, ‘Don’t allow your opponents to drag you to their level of expertise. Remain on yours. Any attempt to beat the other guy using their weapons will, more often than not, yield the undesired result. For the obvious reason that they have used those weapons for far longer than you’.

Karl Popper had described science as a (virtual) place where things happen like this:

Some guy has an inkling. Studies it and gathers a lot of information on the subject.
Based on that information, develops a hypothesis. Then attempts to prove it.
After being satisfied with how much proof they had found, the hypothesis is declared a theory. And published as such. Along with all pertinent evidence. For all those interested to see.

So that all those interested to be able to replicate the experience.
To be able to retrace the proving process. To certify its validity.

And for all those interested to be able to find any proof to the contrary!
So that, as soon as that proof had been found – and declared acceptable, the theory to be considered false. Or, at least, incomplete.

The first example which comes to my mind being that the simple existence of Einstein’s Relativity had proven that Newton’s Physics was incomplete….

Fast forward to our days.
To our raging Covid-19 pandemic.

When vaccines are already available and where there are people who refuse to be vaccinated.

The vaccine was supposed to protect us.
From becoming infected.
From needing to go to the hospital.
From dying. From ending up suffocating alone…

But people continue be infected. Even after receiving the vaccine.
People continue to be admitted to the hospital.
And people continue to die. Even after receiving the vaccine.

Wouldn’t all these evidence strongly suggest, scientifically speaking, that the vaccine is useless?
‘Useless’, to say the least?

Wouldn’t it be actually rational to frame the situation in these terms?

Well, according to Popper’s reasoning, the first vaccinated individual becoming ill had been ample enough proof of the fact that the vaccine was not 100 % foolproof. That it isn’t fail-proof!
The first vaccinated individual being admitted to the hospital had been ample enough proof that the vaccine is no absolute shield against any of us who has been infected will ever have to go to the hospital.
The first vaccinated person who had died with Covid-19 had been ample enough proof that the vaccine will not protect all of us from dying after becoming infected with this virus.

And the fact that so many of us continue to refuse to be vaccinated is ample proof of the fact that reasonable should trump rational. Yet it still doesn’t….
Of the fact that too many of us continue to consider that their short term/self serving interests are more important than other people’s lives.
And of the fact that too many of us continue to ignore how vaccines work.

The key aspect here being the last!
People continue to ignore how vaccines work simply because of the huge amount of disinformation which is being peddled on the internet right now.
It’s not the ‘refuseniks’ who put their short term/self serving interests in front and above the lives of innocent people!
It’s those who have initiated, and continue to drive, the fake-news process who will be eventually determined as having been the root-cause of the excess mortality we’re currently experiencing.

When?
Hopefully, after a reasonable amount of time.
If enough of us start behaving rationally… In a comprehensively rational manner…

In a truly scientific manner!

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/popper/

Three truths about what ‘science’ means.
First part, We.

According to Heidegger, there are two kinds of truths.

A. A proposition is ‘true’ if what’s being said there is in perfect correspondence with reality.
B. A proposition is ‘true’ if the proposition encompasses everything the ‘communicator’ knows about the subject at hand.

‘OK, you promised us a discourse about science and here you are babbling about truth…’

Impatient as always!
How do you determine whether something being said, a proposition, is in (perfect) correspondence with the reality of the fact described there?

To be able to do that, you need first to determine the reality itself.
You know what’s being said – more about that later, and, if you are to determine whether what’s being said is true, you now need to know the truth itself.
How are you going to do that?
You either know it already or you proceed to determine that particular truth.

I’ll leave aside the ‘already known truth’ and proceed towards the ‘future truth’.

A particular individual has two possible approaches towards finding out a ‘new’ truth. A piece of ‘true’ information which is new for that particular person.
Consult a reliable source or investigate the reality.

‘Consulting a reliable source’ brings us back to square one. How do you determine whether a source is reliable or not….
‘Investigate the reality’… Easier said than done!

How do you do that? How do you investigate the reality in a reliable manner? How do you determine the truth of the matter when ‘things’ are a tad more complicated than touching a stove to determine whether it’s hot or not?

You use the scientific approach?
Start from the scientific data base which already exists on the subject(s) closer to your object of interest then proceed using the proven scientific method of trial and error? Emit a hypothesis, try to prove it, formulate a theory and then challenge your peers to tear apart the results of your investigation?

Results you have chased being convinced from the beginning that you’ll never reach the ‘pinnacle’?
Convinced from the beginning that the ‘absolute truth’ – even about the merest subject, is out of reach?
For us, mere mortals, anyway?

‘But if ‘absolute truth’ is out of reach, then how can we determine whether the simplest proposition is actually true?
And why continue to bother about the whole subject, anyway?!?’

Before attempting to find an answer to your question, let me formulate another one.

Let’s consider that you have reached a conclusion about something. That you are in possession of ‘a truth’. How are you going to share it? With your brethren/peers?
I must remember you at this stage of our discussion that language is beautiful but rather inexact. Are you sure that you’ll be able to communicate everything you want to say? To cover every minute aspect of the truth you have just found?
So that the proposition you are about to put together will be in absolute correspondence with the piece of reality you have just discovered?

You are not going to use language at all?
You’re just going to point to your discovery? And let everybody else to discover the truth for themselves?
And how many are going to take you seriously? To pay attention? To what you have pointed?
And how many are going to suspect that you just want to take their focus off what’s really important? To lead their attention away of what you want to keep under wraps?

I’ve got your head spinning?
Then you must understand my confusion. I’m so deep in this that I have to go back and read again what I’ve been writing…

So.
‘Science’ tells us that the ultimate truth is out of our grasp, linguistics/theory of communication tells us no messenger will ever be able to be absolutely precise nor convey the entire intended meaning … what are we going to do?
Settle down and wait for the end to happen to us?

OK, let me introduce you to an absolute truth.

WE ARE HERE!

Who is here?
‘Us’. We are here.

What are we doing here?
‘Are’. We are here.

Where are we?
‘Here’. We are here!

I’ve been recently reminded that mathematics, the most exact language we have at our disposal, is based on a number of postulates. On a small number of axioms – pieces of truth we consider to be self evident, which have constituted a wide enough foundation for mathematics to become what it is today.
But mathematics is far more than a simple language. It is also a ‘virtual space’. A space where special rules apply. A space where our thoughts move according to certain and specific ‘instructions’. A space where we enter holding our arms around a problem we need to solve and which we exit, if successful, with a solution inside our head.

A little bit of history.
Our ancestors had a problem. A class of problems, actually.
How to build something – a house, a temple, a boat, and how to ‘manage’ property – arable land, in particular, but also crops and other ‘stocks’. Problems easier to formulate, and solve, using numbers.
To solve this class of problems, some of our ancestors have invented ‘mathematics’. Had ‘discovered’ the self evident truths – axioms, and then ‘carved’ an entire (virtual) space using the axioms as the foundation upon which they, and those who have followed in their steps, have built – and continue to build, the scaffolding of rules which keep that space ‘open’.

Through thinking, our ancestors have carved a space in which to solve some problems they have encountered in the ‘real’ world…

‘Please stop!
I don’t understand something.
Do you want to say that mathematics is not real?’

To answer this question, this very good question, we need to settle what ‘real’ means.
To us, at least…

Let’s examine this rock. Is it real?
Why? Because you can feel it? If you close your eyes, I can make it so that you experience the same feeling by touching something else to your stretched out fingers than the original rock. In a few years, I’ll be able to produce the same sensation in your brain by inserting some electrodes in your skull and applying the ‘proper’ amount of electric current. What will ‘reality’ become then?

Forget about that rock, for a moment, and consider this table.

Is it real? Even if it’s not as natural as the rock we were analyzing before?
‘Artificial’ – as in man made, starting from natural ‘resources’, might be a good description of the difference between a table and a ‘simple’ rock. Both ‘real’ in the sense that both imply consequences. Your foot will hurt if you stumble in the dark on either of them. Regardless of the rock being natural and the table happening to be artificial…

‘But what about things which are not of a material nature?
Are they real?’

Are you asking me whether ‘metaphysical’ objects – God, for instance, are real?
Then how about ‘law’. Is it real? As an aside, does law belong also to the metaphysical realm? Alongside God? Who determines which thing belongs there?

Or have you glimpsed the fact that ‘truth’, the concept of truth, is a metaphysical ‘object’?
Something which, like God, has a ‘real’ side but makes no sense (to us) unless we think about it?
Something which we have extracted – someway, somehow, from the surrounding reality – where else from? – then ‘carved’ a virtual space around it? So that we may examine it without the distractions of the rest of the ‘real’ world?

Or have you glimpsed also that even the concept of ‘reality’ is a figment of our self-reflecting conscience?

Having started with a rhetorical question, I might as well continue by offering you some ‘trivia’.

Lytton, BC, is a 249 people strong village, situated just a tad North of the 50th parallel. Which puts it almost 300 miles/450 kms closer to the North Pole…
Its inhabitants had had to flee a fire during the hottest weather ever encountered in that area. In modern times, anyway…

During the last 300 years, we’ve been ‘releasing’ – ‘repurposed’? – huge amounts of energy. Solar energy ‘captured’ by plants and stored in the belly of the Earth as ‘fossil fuel’. By releasing that energy we’ve actually changed the composition of the atmosphere.

A third more of something which constitutes only 0.042 of the Earth’s atmosphere doesn’t amount for much, does it?

Well, considering the fact that a certain Arrhenius was calculating all the way back in 1896 the ‘global warming potential of CO2′ as a green house gas…

As already stated, this blog is about how people think.
About how we, conscious people, relate to what happens around us through the use of our ‘brain’.

So here we have it.
We’ve been doing something for the last 300 years.
‘Naively’ at first and in an increasingly scientific soon after the whole thing had gathered momentum.
From a certain point on, an increasing number of the same people who had brain-powered the process – individuals currently known as ‘scientists’, have warned the rest of us about the potential consequences of what we were doing.

And now, that those consequences have started to manifest themselves, so many of us are still in denial.
How is it possible for so many to be convinced that it’s possible to back-pedal Earth’s geological clock without having to face any consequences?!?

‘But is anything we can do to change this?’

In the late 1970-ies, we – ‘our’ scientists, to be more precise – have noticed that there was a problem with the ozone layer.
The ‘thing’ which shields life on Earth from being ‘burned’ out by the UV radiation coming from the Sun.

After a short while, people from the scientific community have determined that there was something that we could do about it. Stop using ‘Chlorofluorocarbon’ substances. Old style ‘Freon’. It wasn’t easy – we had to find substitutes and retool factories, but we did it! The ozone layer is in far better shape now!

While repairing the ozone layer had been a collective effort, eroded land must be ‘patched up’ patch by patch.

‘OK, maybe there is something that we could do about ‘it’.
What would that be?’

I told you already. This is a blog about how we think!
Not, in any way shape or form, about what we should be thinking!

Do your own research.
See what other people say about this.

And ask yourselves one thing.

We are able to ‘fly’ – by boarding a plane, of course – because ‘modern’ scientists have proven that the old ones had been wrong.
But do we – as in me and you – really know how a plane works? Yet we happily board them in droves in each holiday season.
We live way longer than we used to. Because scientists have told us how to build sewage and waste management systems, what pills to take when falling ill and what vaccines to use in order to prevent infectious illnesses from taking hold.
We lead easier lives. Because scientists have built machines which work for us.

We’ve done all this as a collective effort.
We used to trust what they were teaching us and they trusted us to support them in their endeavors.

What happened to all this?
What made us so ‘alert’?

Where did all that trust vanish? Why?
What will the consequences be?

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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Being an engineer, I’m gonna present you with a more straight-forward version than the philosophical one.

For something to be real, it has to have consequences.

‘But…?!?’

No buts!
The only thing which classifies something as being real or not is our consciousness.
Without it, without our consciousness, the something we’re talking about now – reality itself, would cease to be ‘real’.
Without us pondering about it, ‘reality’ would continue to exist, of course! Only it would no longer bear a name… Without us being concerned enough about it, it would ‘disappear’ from our ‘radar’.

‘Yes, but … you just said that something becomes real as soon as it has consequences!
We encounter ‘real’ things in each and every moment of our existence.
We need air to breathe, water to drink… food to eat. And a solid earth to walk on…’

True enough. Only for all these things to become ‘real’, we first need to notice them!

See how ironic things are?
In retrospect, electrons are real. Despite the fact that none of us can actually see them. Or otherwise ‘feel’ them. In any way, shape or form!
But until we had gathered enough evidence about their existence…

And now, that our discussion has reached this subject – evidence, I feel the need to mention the fact that Earth is not yet round ‘enough’. That there still are some people actually believing in the notion of the Flat Earth.

‘Are you implying that the Earth might be Flat?!?’

Excellent question, thank you very much!
(If I may say something like that myself. Please excuse my boastfulness!)

You see, we are dealing here with two things. Two very different things.

The roundness of the Earth. Which seems to be real.
The ‘Flat Earth’. Which is certainly real.

‘Now you’ve outdone yourself! For sure…’

I’m almost certain that you can hear me chuckle.

The roundness of the Earth belongs to the realm of science. Which is ‘wrong by definition‘. At least according to Popper… In the sense that the Earth will continue to remain round only till somebody will prove it to be different. Which had happened already… In ‘reality’, the Earth resembles a potato more than anything else!
On the famous ‘other side’, the ‘Flat Earth Theory’ belongs to the realm of belief. Which is also real. Not in the ‘direct’ sense – a concept which describes a real ‘reality’, only in the sense that it has certain consequences.

‘The Flat Earth has consequences?!? You admit that the concept – ‘the Flat Earth’, describes something which doesn’t exist yet you pretend that it has consequences?’

Yep!

Can you deny the reality of this whole thing? Six hundred and twenty million hits? In less than point 8 seconds?
Can you pretend these are not ‘real consequences’? Can you imagine, for instance, how much energy is spent only to preserve this amount of raw information in the ‘cloud’. How much ‘space’? How much bandwidth is used to transport this ‘fake-ness’ across the ‘globe’!

‘And where does this whole thing lead us?
What about the Flat Earth?
Is it still a fake?’

Yeah.
I’m actually tempted to say ‘obviously’!
On the other hand… it’s hard to deny how ‘real’ the whole thing is…

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Science teaches us many things.

In fact no, science teaches us nothing!
Science cannot teach, at all. Simply because science is not a teacher.

At individual level, science is an attitude. A mind open enough to accept its own fallibility. To accept the fact that, sooner rather than later, it will fail.
To accept the fact that the image it constantly generates during its interaction with the surrounding world is, at best, incomplete.
To accept the fact that the understanding it has reached during its existence is, and will remain forever, a work in progress.

At the social level, science is a way of conducting business.
Based on ‘trust but verify’. A scientifically minded community trusts its individual members to be honest in their efforts but verify their work because – as mentioned above, each of us will, sooner rather than later, fail.
Hence, by aggregating their efforts, a scientifically minded community will eventually paint a still imperfect image but one closer to the reality than any of those belonging to its individual members.

In order for the community to be able to continuously improve their ‘work in progress’ each, or at least, enough of its members need to preserve their scientific mental attitude. Their intellectual humility.
As soon as too many of the individuals reach the conclusion that their image of the world is the only correct one – and they start not only to bow towards it but also to convince others to join them, things start going south.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Who among us is perfect? Perfect enough to be sure?

And why had been chosen an adulterous woman as the main character for this lesson?
Because adultery is a sin which cannot be committed in solitude? Only in cooperation with ‘the other’? As a relationship? Where each member contributes to the shared doom?

Do you see how similar science and sin are?

Both start ‘individually’ and are put in practice ‘together’.
Both are initiated as individual pulsions and put in practice as choices.

I’ve started this post by mentioning science.
The scientists among us have reached the conclusion that there was no need for a God to start the process of which we are the alleged pinnacle. That evolution was enough to drive the whole thing. I tend to agree.
On the other hand, history – yet another branch of science, has produced enough evidence to prove that God had a tremendous contribution to the present state of civilization.

Not God himself but the image of God we have created for ourselves. The Image we’ve been bowing to for some time now.

Go figure….

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