Some personal history. A long while back (maybe 4 years) I got into MBTI, Jungian Cognitive Functions, etc. After a while I started asking myself some (of what I thought were interesting) questions. Questions like:
- What if Freud was projecting his own strangely-warped sexual desires upon everyone else's motives, when he formulated the Oedipus Complex as the central tenant of psychoanalytical theory (do all children really want to have sex with their opposite-sex parent?)
- What if MBTI and Jungian Cognitive Functions are actually bullshit, and they're simply a measure of the different ways that people cope with reality (and can this be changed with training?)
It also led to a personal theory of why women tend to be more emotional thinkers rather than rational thinkers (80/20 principle, 80% feeling and 20% thinking). Why men tend to be more rational thinkers rather than emotional thinkers (80/20 principle, 80% thinking and 20% feeling). And a few simple rule-of-thumb historical observations like that.
Along with this came a realization that many people do not seem to understand the concept of actions having consequences. And that it seemed to be mostly emotional thinkers who had problems with this concept. (Bash the 80% of women if you want, there's still 20% of men who just don't get it - probably more, giving the huge wave of feminized and emasculated men who have been deliberately taught to be emotional thinkers rather than rational thinkers by our feminized society.)
Recently I've come to the realization that most people do not know what science is.
To most people, Science is the search for Truth. People in laboratory coats, doing fancy math that nobody can understand, to find out the subtleties of reality, to hunt down God and pin Him to a laboratory slide and dissect Him. To shout "AHAH! This explains it all!" and show off their intellect to the world. Scientists are an alternative to God for Atheists. Science has given us cars, electricity, skyscrapers and vaccines because Scientists are Really Smart People™. The fruits of Science come out of thin air and are effectively: magic.
Science is a very simple thing: the process of finding reliable and predictable rules through controlled experimentation (ie you can repeat that mofo anywhere under the same conditions and it always works). A car wasn't made because a Really Smart Person™ invented it out of thin air. It was made because millions of people tried this, and that, and found what worked, and why, and tested it more, and changed it here, and tweaked it there - until one day Henry Ford put together the production-line for his Model-T.
People think: "Wow, Henry Ford made a car and got rich, what a really smart dude!" Yet reality is more like: "Wow, he made a production line which made every car part practically the same and used those identical parts to put together a car which he could sell for a profit. What a really smart idea that was, using the processes underlying science to make something reliable and affordable and useful like that."
Which is why most things these days are made on a production-line.
So this is where you get science. Step...by step...by step...by step. Electricity. Vacuum tubes. Transistors. Integrated circuit chips. Computers. Step...step...step...until finally you end up with that bloody iCrap that the stupid and vapid bitch across the table is rudely pecking away at instead of paying attention to the guy who she's met up with for a coffee-date.
What, you thought that it was magic that made that, and not a million precise steps that are repeated endlessly? No problem, I have a virgin that I plan to sacrifice to Baal tonight. You can bring the black goat. Get your mate to bring some rum and raisins too.
Back to history (and reality): Aristotle was the guy who said that heavier objects should fall faster than lighter objects. He then came out with airy-fairy theoretical speculation to say what makes it so. This process was known as: philosophy. Overall basis in reality: zero. Overall contribution to human progress: negative (I can make a case for that kind of thinking being a major setback for human civilization and progress).
Galileo was the guy who cried bullshit and proved it with a very subtle experiment (no, not the legendary dropping two balls off the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa). He used two different-weight balls rolling down a ramp. You can also test this experiment by dropping a stone and a feather: first both in air (the feather wafts gently down) and then both in vacuum (they both fall at the same rate).
After THAT, a guy named Francis Bacon - probably the greatest thinking man who ever lived, never mind Leonardo da Vinci - formalized Galileo's method of doing science. This distinguishes modern science from other forms of knowledge (like philosophy) because it ignores abstract reasoning about the ultimate causes of things and instead tests empirical theories through controlled investigation.
Step...step...step...step...step...can't repeat it? Throw it out! Step. It's not the investigation of Truth, it's a form of engineering - a kind of trial by error. It's not "true" knowledge because its only knowledge of specific things - and each can (at least theoretically) be disproved by further experiment. To be proved they have to be reproducible anywhere, anytime, by anyone with the right equipment under the same conditions.
So you're probably thinking around about now: Alright BlackPoisonSoul, what's with the fucking history lesson?
What's with it is because it's important. If we don't know what science is then we're going to make some dumbass mistakes. And as I've just shown up there, a lotta people (including some pretty-well-educated ones) don't know what science is. They think that science is something that cannot possibly be understood by mere mortals. They think it delivers wonders. They think that it has high priests. They think that it has an ideology that Must Be Obeyed™.
This is what buggers things up. Since most people think that mathematics and lab coats equals science, they then call economics a science. Even though almost nothing in economics actually comes from controlled and reproducible experiments. Then people get pissed at economists for not predicting impending financial crises. (Actually your best science in this case is to look at history - for example, many civilizations tried variations on paper money and inflation. Zimbabwe, Germany, France, Rome, China, etc - look them up. There's your reproducible experiments of "do X and Y happens", multiple civilizations over 3-4,000 years.)
So. When someone doesn't understand that science is built on experimentation, over and over, with the same exact results - they don't understand why it is that studies in fields like psychology don't really prove much. Only reproducible experiments prove something and - people being all bloody different, plus being a bunch of narcissistic bastards and slippery self-liars to boot - it's hard to reproduce something.
This is where you get headlines of "Study proves X" and "Study proves Y" and "Study proves Z" and they all have a stock picture of a scientist and they're all different and you get frustrated as hell because you're expecting something to make bloody sense. Which is weird because people don't make sense on the whole, so why are you expecting science to make sense of a bunch of weirdo's? Especially when over half of us are fucked up messes anywho?
At any rate, this is where the rubber hits the road, where we find out what science really is. It's the steps required to figure out and make your iPhone. It's the steps required to figure out and make the Saturn V that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. It's the steps to figure out and put together the production-lines which make the refrigerator and stove in your kitchen.
It's all that bloody knowledge, compounded over time, that started with a wet and smelly and hairy ape-like-thing from 1 million years ago. He picked up a rock to hit that bastard in the next tribe over the head with, and it's built up right through a million years to putting us on the moon and making our lives immeasurably easier and better.
That's fucking science.
Then we get non-science (nonsense?) also known as belief. (No I'm not talking about God. This is something completely separate that I know nothing about personally. Science has neither proved nor disproved God and I'm undecided as to if it ever will - though there's some interesting experimentation re the God Helmet.)
If you cannot reproduce it, anywhere, anytime, exactly, then it is not science. It is belief. Therefore by this definition:
Global Warming is belief. There is no reproducible science involved (though in fact, looking at the last billion-year history of global warming/cooling periods, we can see that the planet seems to have a fairly robust temperature-range no matter what). We can't turn around and do multiple experiments over a 100-year-range, adding and subtracting X amounts of man-made CO2 and other chemicals and re-running the experiment again, over and over.
All we have are airy-fairy theories and mathematical models and thought-experiments of which we have no clue if they are correct.
Feminism (Marxism/Communism/Socialism) is belief. There is no reproducible science involved (though in fact, looking at the history of the rise and fall of civilizations, we can see patterns of women's freedoms = sexual licentiousness = decline in civilization). We can't turn around and do multiple experiments over a 100-year-range, adding and subtracting X amounts of Feminism (Marxism/Communism/Socialism) and re-running the experiment again, over and over.
All we have is airy-fairy theories and philosophical thought-experiments of which we have no clue if they are correct.
Economics is belief. There is no reproducible science involved (though in fact, looking at the history of various civilizations, we can see what happens with paper money and debasement of currency and inflation and the like). We can't turn around and do multiple experiments over a 100-year-range, adding and subtracting X amounts of debasement/inflation and re-running the experiment again, over and over.
All we have is airy-fairy theories and philosophical thought-experiments of which we have no clue if they are correct.
Damn. I'm starting to see a pattern here.
Most people do not understand what science really is. They treat it as a belief, looking at it like it's some kind of cargo-cult, voodoo-magic-thing. Yet if we really understood it for what it is, we would understand the difference between science and belief (aka philosophy, aka "how I think that things should be" - even though they really might be the exact opposite).
Then we might take a long, hard look at our social selves. We might actually start to ask hard questions of ourselves. We might start to say things like:
Hmmm. We used to have rules of thumb like X, and our civilization as a whole got along pretty good. We tended to improve our lives lots and lots as time passed. The children's lives got a helluva lot better than their parents had, too. The parents were proud of that, helping to give their children a leg-up in life and make things better for them and us.
Then Karl Marx came up with Marxism - throwing out all those rules and substituting what he thought reality should be like. We saw those fellas Lenin and co who instigated this, violently, over a 4-year-period. We saw when it spectacularly failed in the economic collapse of Russia and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In fact Russia is still massively in the poo from all of this.
Yet, here we are, we're slowly doing the same things that they did, step by step. We're seeing the same or similar stuff that Russia had happen along the way. We can even see some parallels that occurred in history, hundreds to thousands of years ago. Yet we're somehow magically expecting it to be different in the end...We need to understand very clearly the differences between Science and Belief - why it is that they are so different - why it is that we should keep a wary eye upon them - why we should think about them differently.