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    Re: Oblique Ascension.
    From: Mike Hannibal
    Date: 2005 Aug 29, 12:45 +1000

    We also need to be careful here: "Science" is simply a
    framework of belief, a set of rules that determine
    whether something is or isn't "science".
    In the western world, and I suspect more particularly
    under western democratic belief systems Science has
    gained some primacy. I will be the first to say that
    science isn't a bad belief framework for many things.
    For instance I would rather prefer that the surgical
    technique that someone proposes to use on me is backed
    by decent scientific evidence. Medicine has been quite
    poor at being scientific in many cases, hence the
    emergence of the Cochrane collaboration etc.
    Having said all of that science isn't the only
    sensible framework - just one of them.
    If list members have an interest in this subject it
    has been written about quite a lot - I find the work
    of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela interesting.
    There was also an interesting edition of the Irish
    Journal of Psychology in the late 80s that focused on
    constructivism and canvassed this issue among others.
    Food for thought and maybe straying to the bounds of
    off-topic. If so I apologise.
    --- Peter Fogg  wrote:
    >   Frank, you wrote:
    > "But this brings us to  an interesting conundrum...
    > How do you know that any
    > "mainstream" topic in  science is not "nonsense"?
    > Let's take, as a random
    > example, fluid dynamics. It's  mostly classical
    > physics in the extreme, and
    > I can't think of any reason to be  skeptical of its
    > basic conclusions --it's
    > about as mainstrem as you can get. But  why do you
    > believe in it as a
    > science and not, to pick another random example,
    > homeopathic medicine??
    > Have you studied it yourself (and if you have, pick
    > another comparable
    > example)? Although rational thought and personal
    > experimentation are a big
    > part of science, in the end, you and I cannot
    > personally test each and
    > every theory. So do we adopt an absurd agnosticism
    > in  which subjects
    > outside our personal experience are unknown to us?
    > Or can we  accept that
    > there is a certain division of labor in science, and
    > if I find  something
    > nonsensical, you also have a basis for finding it
    > nonsensical? I  believe
    > that this is actually what people do in the real
    > world of science, but  it's
    > a bit removed from the utopian vision of scientific
    > proof. As I say, it's a
    > conundrum."
    > Both fluid dynamics and (to a lesser extent)
    > homeopathic medicine lend
    > themselves to rational explanation. I accept as
    > prima facie evidence the
    > work others have put into understanding them. Other
    > topics seem beyond
    > science. To dismiss them as nonsense without
    > evidence seems a travesty of
    > rationality. I am intrigued by those who profess to
    > be rational yet proudly
    > claim to be atheist. How do they know? I always
    > wonder. Isn't their lack of
    > faith as equally blind as that of those who profess
    > it? It seems to me that
    > agnosticism, far from being absurd, is the only
    > rational response to the
    > unknowable. I agree its a conundrum.
    > Navigation owes a lot to astrology, as many early
    > astronomers were inspired
    > by astrological motives. Even now, it seems,
    > astrology continues to shine a
    > light for us, to wit the current topic.
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