SCIENCE is from the Latin for 'knowledge', which philosophically means 'true, justified belief'.

informs wisdom, reason and humanism.

This creates a 4-legged worldview within reality that maximizes well-being for individuals and society.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Other Ways Of Knowing?

Whenever I get into a discussion with a philosopher or religious apologist, the subject of "Ways of Knowing" other than through scientific methods usually rears its head.  Following are two links, with highlights from such, that I believe shed more light than heat on the subject:
  • The error to watch for in this usage of the term is changing the meaning of "knowing" mid-argument: 
  1. Say that by 'knowing', you mean something like 'learning something socially valuable' or 'experiencing something that changes how you think.'
  2. Get a scientist to agree that, yes, non-science subjects can give you that stuff. This won't be hard; probably nobody disputes it.
  3. Switch meanings and claim you've now shown that other subjects yield the same sort of knowledge science yields
  • More-or-less by definition other ways of knowing cannot be falsified, and cannot be independently replicated, and as such are not scientific.
  • - - - humanity has developed its approach to knowledge over time. Initially much of our knowledge was superstitious and mythical. Mythology provided explanations. A philosophical approach, based on logic and reason, developed in Greece and Italy from about the sixth century BCE. Today, modern science has its feet firmly placed on evidence. Scientific ideas are, must be, tested against reality.
  • To assert today that we should revert to a pre-scientific era, that theology or philosophy should trump scientific knowledge, is to claim that mythology/logic/reason is more reliable than evidence.
  • Of course logic and reason are important – and they can contribute to knowledge. They can provide a synthesis, an overview, and intuitions to the researcher. But they are not a substitute for evidence. In the end our reason and logic must conform to the evidence, not displace it.
  • It’s not surprising that philosophy/logic has limitations. It is after all just a refinement of common sense by reason. Philosophical/logical principles arise from intuitions and may not properly represent reality. Quantum mechanics is an obvious example.
  • Logical distortions for ideological reasons are inherent in the process. In science the requirement of evidential input counters this subjectivity.
In conclusion, subjective experiences of love or other emotions are real but are not really "knowledge."  Knowledge is often defined as "JUSTIFIED true belief."  Since there is no way of evaluating subjective experiences, they can not be JUSTIFIED outside of the person experiencing them.

Sean Carroll is correct:  Naturalism wins!!!   (

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