Re: What makes science science?

Scott Badger (
Tue, 25 Aug 1998 18:11:32 -0500

maxm <> wrote on
Date: Tuesday, August 25, 1998 4:32 PM

>Frequently I discuss futurism/transhumanism versus the pseudoscience of
>groups like the alternative "healers", Edgar Casey worshippers,
>astrologists, biorhythmists, pendulists, homeopathists etc. etc.
>Often I do this with people who doesn't quite believe that science holds
>the answers.
>Several times I have found that I need a very simple explenation of what
>makes something scientifically sound and what doesn't.
>I know that this isn't quite extropian in itself but I think that it might
>be of interrest to more people on this list than me.

I think they offer Ph.D.s in The Philosophy of Science to address this question so it is, of course, presumptious to attempt to boil it all down to a simple explanation. But I've been presumptious before.

To me, it's all about prediction and repeatable results. Generally, if you produce results or make observations that no one else can, even after repeated attempts using the same methodology you did, it's not scientifically sound. Psychics are right occasionally, intermittently reinforcing (the most powerful reinforcement schedule) those who are predisposed to believe. Rational and systematic skepticism is the epistemolgical key.

Science was probably an inevitable process for us to develop. I submit that we tend to devote the larger percentage of our mental energies toward answering three questions over and over again; (1) What's next? (prediction), (2) What does it have to do with me? (relevance), and (3) What can I do about it? (control). Anxiety lies at or very near the core of human nature, and anxiety is eased to the degree that we can satisfy our needs for prediction, relevance, and control. Of course, for some ignorance is bliss, but not for most.

But back to your question. Does science hold all the answers. Yes. Science is our best methodology for eventually finding all the answers.

BTW, I would love to make it to Houston for the First Annual Textropian Conference (or happy hour). Hope I can.

Scott B.