[Advaita-l] Re: non-subjectivism of science

tatha gat tathagat79 at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 16 00:22:02 CDT 2005

"However, the beauty of science is that it does not
suffer from subjectivism. It is independent of caste,
colour, creed...interpretation!"

My thoughts on this issue are still half baked so
please feel free to point out anything you disagree

Though in general I agree with you that what science
tells us, (and you must realize that in many ways
science has an easier problem to solve since it is not
concerned with the happiness of that most fickle
entity - human mind) , it tells us with much more
certitude than a spiritual theory on the same issue,
still, such blind scientism is outright wrong. I too
laboured under it for a few years. A few passages from
Karl Poppers "The structure of scientific revolutions"
(a fairly standard text) set me right. Science *never*
happens in a vacuum of logic and rationality as we
laypersons are told it does. All, scientists bring a
lot of subconscious cultural/religious/social
conditioning to their fields. At the cutting edge of
science, this baggage that you carry, and the general
philosophy of life you believe in, determines what
"hunches" arise in your mind, which of those you
pursue, and at the end of the day, which results you
choose to publish. 

That science is subjective is fairly well accepted in
scientific circles, but, there is a growing fringe
movement towards subjectivity even in mathematics -
the holiest artifact of rationality and logic. This is
not the right list to get into such things, but it is
interesting and so I will make a brief venture - at
the heart of the matter is the notion of when two sets
should be considered different. Should they be
considered different if they have different elements
(extensionality - the dominant paradigm to date) or
should they be considered different if your intent in
constructing them was different , even though they may
end up having the same elements (intensionality -
reeks of subjectivism) This, to put mildly, can be one
of the most significant events in mathematics since
the notion of objective realism currently depends on
an objective mathematical description of reality. If
we are fortunate, we might see this paradigm shift
permeate other fields of mathematics in our lifetime

In closing, I will just quote one sentence I once
heard at a talk which has had a deep effect on me :

"If you think about it in a rational manner, sex is
the most disgusting and yucky act one can imagine
where you purposefully try to gain pleasure from the
foulest and vilest of our organs - yet in the heat of
the moment we  think we are on the top of the world.

And we like to think of ourselves as rational logical
entities pondering the mysteries of the universe."


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