I've limited time for thoughtful posts, so if you're not comfortable with having to wait a week or so for a meaningful response, feel free to ignore this addition.
When you do it, it's called "implied." From anyone else, it's called a "strawman." Outside your perceived implications, I can't find anyone suggesting science is formally complete. It's hardly something I would argue. I'm a mathematician, not a scientist.
Originally posted by MaxVel
(2) Again you over-state what I'm saying. I am simply pointing out that there are areas where there are answers to be had, and it's not science that gives us those answers.
"Pointing out." I don't think that means what you think it means.
Now I went poring over your posts in this thread for what looked to be the best all-round clarification of your position I could find:
These two are incommensurate: "All-round best method for everything" and "best method for an individual thing." A claimant for the first need only outperform any other method across a range of specialties, like the winner of a decathlon. A decathlon winner could — though I'm not aware that it's occurred — win no individual event, and yet stand above all other contestants in the final rankings.
Originally posted by MaxVel
Returning to your current post:
Speaking of irony:
Originally posted by MaxVel
Dude! How can anyone expect to represent you correctly when your "clarifications" are all over the map? Is it best all-round, best at all things, or only way? The first is probably true, which is the most meaningful answer possible as it's a statistical phenomenon. The second is an entirely different question.
Science is not the only way we can get knowledge. That position obviously fails because it can't meet it's own epistemic standard.
The last is simply arguing from paradox, trivially dismissed, like asking if the statement "this statement is false" is true or false. It's not a statement, not a logical statement that is, as a logical statement must, by definition, be either true or false. And similarly the method of gaining all knowledge is not known, hence not knowledge, hence there is no epistemic burden on science to show that it is knowledge that can be obtained via science. This is the assumption that all questions can be answered that I read, you say incorrectly, from your posts. If this reading is incorrect, I apologize, but at the same time it's because that's what you said, independent of whether that was your intent.
These recursive paradoxes are often brushed over lightly in introductory logic courses, which is often all the logic instruction an undergraduate receives. But once their form is understood, they can be created with ease, and endlessly:
Tolerance of the intolerant. I've seen Nick use this one in an attempt to show that tolerance doesn't exist, and so escape charges of religious intolerance.
The above, lack of knowledge of what knowledge is. Endlessly debated, and thus, obviously, not knowledge.
Love directed toward those who hate love.
Sadistically torturing the masochist.
Then there are the classical examples:
A book listing all books that do not reference themselves outside their titles. Can it list itself? If it does, it should not, and if does not, it should.
A set of all sets that do not contain themselves. Is this set a member of itself? Then it must not be. But if it is not, it should be.
All of these formulations lose definition due to an infinitely recursive contradiction and are thus neither true nor false, but rather paradoxical. Earlier, Zack confused recursive paradox with reductio. The distinction is that the chain of a reductio argument must end. He confused recursive paradox with recursive proofs, a generalization of inductive proofs patterned after the natural numbers, taking advantage of unique successors and minimal elements in all subsets.
Note the assumption that there is a method of arriving at all knowledge implicit in the request that it be shown that science is the best method for doing so. Replace "best method" with "a method" and you'll see the implication more clearly. It's pointless to argue that science is such a method before showing that such a method exists. But this assumption is necessary before it can be argued, pro or con, that science is the best method. By labeling the above a proposition, you've entailed the implication.
Originally posted by MaxVel
Now there's another claim that needs clarification. If you're speaking of epistemic authority, as above, you're simply wrong. This happens more generally in these discussions, and often enough to see a pattern. Studies in the philosophy of science are where old scientists past their inventive prime go to retire, or should be. But it's also where certain well-known Christian apologists stymied by their own lack of knowledge of science go to create a pretense of addressing science, e.g. Plantinga. His EAAN exemplifies the maxim that speaking outside your field of expertise is the all-round best method for making a fool of yourself as an academic. But I'll acknowledge there may be other supports of which I'm unaware.
Neither is science superior in all areas
to other approaches to knowledge (philosophy among them), since science itself rests on various positions that can't be supported by science (but can be supported by philosophy).
Much more often what I find are metaphysical arguments that confuse description with governance. A word's definition in a dictionary does not govern its usage, it describes it. As language changes, it's the dictionaries that lose their relevance, not the communication which dictionaries attempt to pin down. The methodologies of science active at any one point in history can be faithfully described by metaphysics. The genius of science, however, is that it escapes the need for any specific metaphysical grounding by relying instead on the simple justification "because it works." Why it works, and how it works, can be metaphyisically described, but these descriptions, and the careers spent analyzing and critiquing these descriptions, are contingent on the simpler physical justification.
It's said that English borrows from other languages. That's the polite recounting, in any case. The truth is that it follows them into dark alleys, clubs them over the head, and then goes through their pockets looking for loose grammar. Science incorporates logic —and good philosophy, and pure mathematics — in creating and testing its hypotheses. If it can be demonstrated that such incorporations lead to better predictions, science is the club, and good logic had better be wearing a hard hat if it wants to avoid the larceny.
My view is that we need science, and
good philosophy, and
pure mathematics, and
a number of other approaches. They are simply different tools that we need for different areas of 'reality'. It's foolish to use only one to the exclusion of others.. ...if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. There is no one single method or approach that answers every question, just as there are questions we don't have answers for.
Paradoxically, or seemingly so to metaphysical students, science achieves its best knowledge by abandoning perfect knowledge, like a digitization of continuous audio via sampling. It throws away certainty in order to achieve a better predictive power than has been achieved by any other human endeavor. Does it achieve truth? Well, no, but it approximates it where it counts, in the real world where there's nothing more true than truths discerned through our senses. We can know, beyond the most wildly improbable advances of science, the specific value of pi in a Euclidean plane, but we know it only because we're allowed to create a Euclidean plane in mathematics, despite the fact it exists nowhere in our universe.
It's not that science can't encompass these truths beyond instantiations of their approximations, it's that these are "truths" that are merely rhetorically identical, like the "truth" of Rhett Butler's concern for Scarlett's future happiness and security, or the truth of philosophical or theological fictions.
As ever, Jesse