The Myths of Science

We hate to use such words of our beloved Goddess, science, but did you know that the models of science are but mythology?

They are a mythology, however, that are not static and not given by any divine revelation. They are a mythology born of mind, competing with other models of explanation. Oh, and they also certain restrictions – they are bound by reason and a certain logic that governs the winner of the competition:

Models must be extendable. A model with no predictive power is useless and beyond the scope of science. (e.g. Intelligent Design).

Models must obey the rules of logic. (e.g. Occam's Razor. With competing models, choose the simpler one).

Models must be testable and verifiable. No more divine revelation and proof by Authority.

Models must be non-supernatural.

Models have a limited sphere of applicability. (e.g. Newton's laws work very well, so long as quantum or relativistic limits are negligible. We use Newton's model for space travel, not Einstein's.)

Other rules exist, but those are some basic ones. The point is that these models are a new, impersonal mythology. They are not reality. I'll repeat, they are not reality. We get comfortable with these models and treat them as if they were reality, but time and time again we find exceptions...and everyone's befuddled and confused!

The mythologies of science, however, are at odds with our Western tribal mythologies of an anthropomorphisized universe. The two are not compatible because the old models violate testability and the Occam's Razor principle.

The fact is, we don't have the foggiest idea what constitutes space, matter, energy or any other of the most basic constituents of the manifest universe. We only note that the universe behaves as if such and such are true, to a limit of experimental accuracy.

This observation should not be troubling, but it should put in check any notion that the ideas in our heads are anything other than that – ideas in our heads.

All this talk about models, and no pics?

BAN

:(

Mythology almost seems chosen specifically to start a riot, in this context ;)

LOL @ science riot

translate the frat above please

"Are you mad Frink? Put down that science pole!"

hehehe

Seriously, there's going to be some sliderules thrown around here in a minute.

BTW, I agree with this:

"The point is that these models are a new, impersonal mythology. They are not reality. I'll repeat, they are not reality. We get comfortable with these models and treat them as if they were reality, but time and time again we find exceptions...and everyone's befuddled and confused!"

Except in the use of the word "mythology", which to me implies the supernatural. If you require that it does not, that makes its use here redundant alongside "model".

2 interesting things about science that are often either ignored, or overinterpreted and exploited:

1) Models are just models, and are not reality

2) The practice of science requires faith, though it is the simple faith that the field is effectively regulating itself combined with the absurdly reduced faith that what is perceived subjectively is in fact objective reality, and that it is constant.

All this talk about models, and no pics?

BAN

Fraser is correct

Are you accusing me of being intentionally provocative? How dare you, sir.

We'd like to hallow our lady with a more "dignified" word, wouldn't we? Mythologies have always labored to explain the manifest universe.

Consider the myth of Arachne - the gal who could weave better than anyone else. She was challenged by Athena to a "weave off". Athena made a tapestry paying homage to the Gods. Arachne made one showing the Gods in humorous, irreverent scenes. Athena was so upset, she cursed the poor girl to become a spider, forever weaving her silken misery ever-after. Thus, the explanation for spiders and their ability to create such marvelous designs.

That also is a model, but it could never be taken seriously as a scientific model.

It can be, if you don't have any money and are very hungry

Rastus, provocative on purpose?

Perish the thought my friend :P

I, like Frasier, associate mythology with the supernatural, and I think your usage of the word denudes it to the point where it's not a useful word.

BTW UCSD rejected me. Did you write them a letter? Dick.

What? I thought you got in?

UCSC and UCSB so far, still waiting to hear from UCI. UCSD was top of my list tho, cuz I want to live in SD again :)

BUT, it's not like I'll be upset by going to UCSC. If you don't count my affinity to San Diego and its wonderful wonderful beer, SC would be my top choice.

Good catch, Fraser. Mythology invariably employs personalizes the explanations, whereas science seldom does. Scientists so, however. David Bohm, the quantum physicist, developed an alternative to QM using a model of consciousness at the subatomic level, which could be construed as personalizing a model. Out of this model, he developed an entire holistic practice.

Science and scientists are seperate entities in a lot of ways.

Aw, that sucks, Jonwell. Sorry to hear that, buddy. UCSD's a fantastic school, and I love La Jolla.

S'ok man, I'm not broken up over it.

Oh, I had SC confused with SD. : (

"Science is a disguised religion....inspired by pagan beliefs and now used for ideological, moral, and economic ends as well as a means of investigation of physical events. But the public is not aware of that."

Neither is reality.

"Mythology invariably employs personalizes the explanations, whereas science seldom does. Scientists so, however."

Ah, yes.

What?

"David Bohm, the quantum physicist, developed an alternative to QM using a model of consciousness at the subatomic level, which could be construed as personalizing a model. Out of this model, he developed an entire holistic practice."

Interesting... I'd like to read about that. But just because he's a scientist doesn't make all of his views into science...

Science of a body of facts. The scientific method is the means of acquiring those facts. Scientists are the imperfect beings laboring to establish those facts.

The verifiability is also an assumption that in today's world is no longer a given. The degree of specialization makes it virtually impossible to verify every person's work. The dominant type of science in physics has brought the whole discipline to nearly a screeching halt.

We may be at our limit in some respects for the understandability of our universe. Physics has not significantly progressed in our fundamental understanding of the universe since the late seventies.