The Philosophy of Science

We’ve had a few discussions about science and faith. We continue to view them as opposites, though that is just because we have them disordered. One of the issues that comes up when discussing science, is that it is inherently true until proven wrong. There is an arrogance that is derived from that. The scientific community tends to only submit their work to themselves for review. They do not often submit it to the realm of philosophers, because they view their conclusions as scientific, not philosophical. This has always concerned me because that arrogance will cause a progress race blinding everyone to one of the most basic questions, “should we do this?”

I am also stuck in one of these strange situations where I have so many thoughts but someone else has already beautifully articulated it. So, rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I would share it here. This piece is from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. The running theme through out this book is how the arrogance of man playing god, forgoing moral debate in order to sell a product before someone else, leads to their own demise.

“No. I’ll tell you the problem with engineers and scientists. Scientists have an elaborate line of bull**** about how they are seeking to know the truth about nature. Which is true, but that’s not what drives them. Nobody is driven by abstractions like ‘seeking truth’

Scientists are actually preoccupied with accomplishment. So they are focused on whether they can do something. They never stop to ask if they SHOULD do something. They conveniently define such considerations as pointless. If they don’t do it, someone else will. Discovery, they believe, is inevitable. So they just try to do it first. That’s the game in science. Even pure scientific discover is an aggressive, penetrative act. It take big equipment, and it literally changes the world afterward. Particle accelerators car the land, and leave radioactive byproducts. Astronauts leave trash on the moon. There is always some proof that scientists were there, making their discoveries. Discovery is always the rape of the natural world. Always.

The scientists want it that way. They have to stick their instruments in. They have to leave their mark. They can’t just watch. They can’t just appreciate. They can’t just fit into the natural order. They have to make something unnatural happen. That is the scientist’s job, and now we have whole societies that try to be scientific.” He sighed and sank back.

Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

All of the story lead up to that speech and then the rest of the story proved it. There is a conclusion to this piece that reads,

Ellie said, “you want to turn back the clock?”

“No,” Malcom said. “I want people to wake up. We’ve had four hundred years of modern science, and we ought to know by now what it’s good for, and what it’s not good for. It’s time for a change.”

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton

I wanted to share this because I could not say it better. If you have not read Jurassic Park, I highly recommend it. The movie does it justice, but the book is still worth reading. These principals were written long before people were using “science” in main stream media (thanks again, covid…you suck), but it rings true today. People use the term science to try and get immediate acceptance based on implicit correctness, but there is no such thing. Science is to be scrutinized and challenged with reason, just as everything should be.

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