Another Chinese new year. But what came to my mind this morning was something quite peculiar, if not irrelevant to the scene — what is science, or being scientific? Noah is taking some science class on rock and mineral, and I have just written about euphemism. This word, science, has been lingering on my mind and I wonder whether I'm telling Noah the right thing about it.
So what is science? I always had this hunch that it certainly is not truth (but what is a truth, or anyone can possibly possess such thing as truth? I doubt it, if not completly refuting it). So the next closest thing is, fact!? Here is what webster says:
the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
So it has something to do with knowledge. What is a knowledge? webster definition:
(1) : the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique
If I'm reading it right, even knowledge is not necessarily fact. Fact,
according to Noah, is something you can prove. But don't you think the
word prove is also troublesome!? What do you mean by proving? of
your hypothesis, but doesn't it just validate your premise, instead of
what we take fact as something that is objective?
How about turning it around, and say that fact is not something you
can prove right, but prove wrong!? I like webster on
a : something that has actual existence space exploration is now a fact b : an actual occurrence prove the fact of damage 2 : a piece of information presented as having objective reality These are the hard facts of the case. 3 : the quality of being actual : actuality a question of fact hinges on evidence
But then again, this seems to lead to more questions than answers
→ what is actuality? Isn't it also depending on my perception,
or existing regardless of my being? A common example to describe fact,
"this line is 3 feet long" — but here I would question, if we
both agree on the definition of number system as well as the word
feet, so the most we could disa/prove is that whether the line meets
what our definition says → therefore, it is a hard fact, but
only to you and me!! Think of another person from Mars whose
different, this statement of "3 feet long" is certainly not True
anymore. If you think of it, there isn't a single fact in this
statement at all!! Are we saying that length of an object is a fact we
can always measure and prove? Not quite so! what is a length? why not
call it width, in Mars system? and who says there is such an attribute
length that we commonly link to a physical object? but even
in this sentence there lies a twist — a line, is virtual!! So
are we saying that length is an attribute applies to both physical and
virtual object? But certainly it is not a required attribute, because,
why can't we have an object that has no concept of length, at all!?
Science, is becoming a disease
Headache. What I'm really getting to is this. I believe we have turned
science into another label that we freely slap on things
— I call it window dressing — and people have bought into
this idea that science is such a vigorous and superior, thing, that it
automatically validate your saying — that's it! I think what
lies in the core of all these labeling is that speaker has a need to
validate his/her saying... wait a minute, really? why do you want to
validate? I think it's a power you are trying to give yourself so your
message will prevail. If power can come from other mean, validation,
or science in this matter, has a diminishing return, therefore will
just disappear, as we are seeing everyday in politics, media, and many
many other occasions.
Makes total sense! why do people want to prevail? To benefit? not necessarily. A psychological need? This is more likely, but I can't elaborate what this is. To dominate so to protect him/herself? hmmm.... this is a likely reason also. As I observed, dressing to be scientific is more prevalent when being in a unfriendly crowd — if among close friends and family, who the hell care whether your statement is really valid, or factual, or backed up by numbers or not. Often enough we even skew the sentence on purpose, just for a funny effect and laugh.
But then, I hate that these days every argument is traced back to our million-year-old ancestor and their survival instinct, as if a trace of such thing, even a tiny portion among all the other developed, evolved, changed, updated, attributes, is still sufficient to make the case. Especially when people bring up the instinct of survival, well, who doesn't want to survive, first!? Therefore, as long as your argument traces to your so called survival instinct, it becomes unreputable — but this to me really is just an argument bully! Don't we all agree, and actually broadcast, that there have been living example that a subject will not put their survival instinct on top, when there was something significant enough to override your survival instinct ← such as patriotism, personal love, and parenthood?
So first, let's make the statement that desire to survive isn't a sufficient argument why people want to prevail in a crowd. It's a strong one, but I don't think it's a sufficient one.
Second, science is subjective. It has dominated my generation (and many before and many to follow), but it is one of many methods we human use to make sense of this world. Science so far I would say has developed the most number of tools and methods facilitating this effort, and have figured out a system to spread its teaching. It seems to answer the most of number of questions posted by God, but quantity doesn't speak quality — science is not the only tool, the only method, the only teaching, and its answer is not the only one that makes sense.
Third, ah ah! don't you also observe that many many many articles always make to this number so to make the points more, convincing!? I don't know. There is definitely something about this number in argument! I actually wonder that three is the capacity of human brain (for most of us) to summarize information. Anyway, off topic. So I'll skip number three. I don't have one. Two is fine.
bogus (science) is epidemic
If science is viewed in this lens, I would have to rant (more) on how
this technique of window dressing has become an epidemic in Chinese
scenes. Oh boy I don't even know where to start. Every show you tune
to, every article I have come across in the last two years, everyone I
spoke to and listened to, the word
science is being used left and
right as if we are now in the age of science and are now becoming
a part of this, enlightened?, family.
Sigh. But really, if my message has any value to you, it should be obvious now that they use the word simply to make a stronger case for themselves whatever their agenda is. Science is a view, and as any other view, it is personal, it is subjective, it is fallible, and it is debatable (.... almost did 3 myself!) Throwing numbers around isn't science, isn't scientific. Quoting a research finding without first stating its assumption and experiment methods, and in particular its reasoning, is simply slogan shouting, and is just wrong, I mean, morally, wrong!
I don't believe there is a correct science. But I do think there is bogus science — definition being one that omit definition of its premises and presenting conclusions/opinions with a illogical reasoning. One sign of a bogus science is that its statements are loaded with adjectives such as many, much, very, most — and conversations on stocks and medication are the worst — you know this stock CAN fall up to 20%.... why can't it fall 21%? or 100%? or -200%? of course it can, and you can't even state how like it CAN! A line like this, is what I would call a bogus science ← it slapped a fine, scientific number on itself, but it has zero information nor validation.
— by Feng Xia