Friday, April 30, 2021

On Trusting Science

Catholic Priest: Can Science be Trusted?
21st April 2021 | Breaking In The Habit

Draper was right on one item, though: the Church in 1633 - though Francis Marsden said 1634 - really did condemn, not Galileo's attitude, but:

  • that the Sun is the immobile centre of the world
  • that the Earth moves "in the third heaven" above it and also by a daily motion.

"Galileo was not stripped of his teaching faculties ..."

No, he didn't have any ecclesial teaching faculties in the first place.

"but because he taught what he couldn't prove"

A thing which is true per accidens, but not per se.

Per se, his position was condemned because of stating:

  • that the Sun is the immobile centre of the world
  • that the Earth moves "in the third heaven" above it and also by a daily motion.

Per accidens, he could have avoided being condemned for it if he had been able to prove it - at least back when defending the Assayer or Sidereus Nuntius. But from this we cannot extrapolate that "once heliocentrism is proven, it is no longer condemned" because in fact while the Galileo cases ended with no proof for heliocentrism, unlike what many others state, this does not mean it was ever better proven later.

Nor that the condemnation of those two sentences was ever revoked by an undisputed Pope (Antipope Wojtyla isn't one, so the 1992 revocation doesn't count with those not counting him as Pope, including both Sedes, and more germainly to myself, Pope Michael).

And maybe some important question was left out of the study ...

1) Bessel identifies a movement of a star in Cygnus as the "parallax" missing when Galileo and St. Robert discussed things.

However, since both Galileo and St. Robert agreed that the fix stars were the outermost orbit or sphere without movement around the centre of the universe, the parallax they would have wanted to see presence or absence of once telescopes would allow it would have been one uniformly affecting all of the fix stars. The Bessel observation would fit as parallax in an infinite or at least very very very large universe to which distances within "solar system" are insignificant compared to the ones between stars outside it. But it contradicts the kind of parallax that Galileo would have predicted.

2) Bessel had no use either for Tychonian orbits or for angelic movers. This means, he never asked the question whether, and never refuted the position that the movement of that star in Cygnus was performed by an angelic mover. He just assumed physical factors as per Newtonian physics were all the factors mattering on this scale.

Your view of what the scientific method is:

1) Observe
2) Hypothesise
3) Test
4) Conclude
5) Repeat
a) sounds like Popper's ideal of how science should be done, is not how science actually was done by any particular either in Galileo's or in Bessel's time;
b) also doesn't adress what happens if those socially considered qualified to "do" science systematically by a cultural flaw avoid hypothesising about certain possibilities (like angelic movers);
c) also very clearly isn't what happened over time about Geocentrism to Modern Acentrism - because in fact no test was designed to exclude geocentrism except those that confirmed it (assuming luminiferous aether, Michelson and Morley tested annual movement and failed, there is also Airy's failure).

An overall scientific method cannot be true or false, because it neither is nor contains any statement.

It can be useful or useless, and it can be adequate or inadequate for finding truth. But it cannot be true as it cannot be false either.

Only individual statements can be true or false.

Anything you seem to have as "statements" once "individual studies" are abstracted away are doctrines, without reference to the studies that support or maybe even dismiss them. And those doctrines aren't the method, they are the cultural backdrop to the people at present using the method with the approval of "all of society" (except the minorities that do not approve evolutionists or heliocentric-acentrics being trusted with using that method).

One thing more that it actually can be : observed or ignored by those doing science. The overall "scientific method" of Popper that you outlined actually is more ignored than observed in practise.

Facts which are true facts are truth.

They may not be all the truth there is, but they certainly are truth as far as they go.

You haven't started adressing whether the scientific community today is or isn't habitually denying or ignoring true facts (to which I would count angelic movers) and whether it is or isn't habitually believing false facts (to which I would count metaphysical materialism - the idea thoughts are an elaboration of matter - deep time, deep space, molecules to man evolution).

No, truth is not "about meaning and purpose".

Truth involves correct factual statements about meaning and purpose, whereever and on whatever levels these exist (there is some factual disagreement between "matter in certain chemical and electronic movements indulges in an illusion of consciousness, meaning and purpose" and "matter is not the most basically real reality, but was created by a being having consciousness and doing so with meaning and purpose"). But truth involves factual statements of other types too. Like "the relation of a perimeter to a diameter of a perfect circle is unequal to any relation between two numbers, it is always lower than one or higher than one, like higher than 314:100 but lower than 315:100, higher than 3141:1000 but lower than 3142:1000" (the fact sometimes misstated as "pi is an irrational number" which the Middle Ages were supposed not to know - in fact they didn't count pi as a number in the first place).

Dito for "wisdom" and "knowing what to do with" - stating that that is truth is in fact the error of pragmatism.

"science can measure brain waves"

or heart beats ... you are here talking about what some call "natural science".

Now, natural or physical science can very definitely state its dependence on a metaphysics where the relation of such things to meaning gets its answers.

If there is spirit, there is meaning, since the attributes of spirit are knowledge and will. But if there is spirit, that also involves there being some correlation between spirit and matter. If an immaterial spirit (rather than a computer made by certain types of cells) is making these reflections, that means that an immaterial spirit is moving material keys on a keyboard by means of fingers that are material and directly controlled by it.

And that brings up the problem of how spirit and matter interact, and the only answer that will help is one which is assumed to be factual. It would be Kantian dichotomy to pretend "we cannot by observation prove a spirit moves a keyboard by fingers, but we must postulate it to live well" ... and there used to be, perhaps a 100 years ago, a certain attitude from Thomists to what they consider "Aquikantians" - Kantians using expressions from Aquinas but taking facts from Kant.

And the dichotomy between fact and truth you give sounds heavily Aquikantian to me, or perhaps rather just Kantian without any Aqui ...

Your example of the sunset pretends that only those data accepted by the scientific community as verifiable are so.

Memory data are verifiably such. Relief from heat (if the day has been hot) or exposure to cold (if it hasn't) or both, are verifiable. Just because something is not counted as "natural science" doesn't mean it deals with other things than verifiable sense data.

"[Science] is a form of inquiry that provides immense benefit to the human experience ..."

This is clearly unverified for:
  • heliocentrism
  • deep space
  • deep time
  • molecules to man evolution.

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