Re: What makes science science?

Anders Sandberg (
26 Aug 1998 10:43:59 +0200

"maxm" <> writes:

> 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 all
> the answers.

Does science hold all the answers? I think that depends on the set of questions; some questions are answerable by science (what will happen if I mix chemical X with chemical Y?), some can in principle be answered using scientific methods but there is little point in doing so (what kind of clothes will I wear tomorrow? - you could perhaps model me and my environment using quantum mechanics to find out, but it would be too bothersome), some do not deal with the domain of the real world (what was the motivations of Don Quixote?) and some are pure philosophy (is it ethical to uplift squids?). Saying science can give us *all* the answers seems a bit unfounded. However, I would say science can answer most practical questions, and give us important data for constraining the answers in other categories of questions.

> Several times I have found that I need a very simple explenation of what
> makes something scientifically sound and what doesn't.

In addition to the good points made by others in this thread, I like to point out that science is deep down an organized search for knowledge. It is notable that pseudoscience tends to be very unorganized and haphazard, with little of the cumulative accumulation, verification and integration of knowledge science shows.

> 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.

Actually, I think this is extropian in the sense that it deals with finding the best tools for our development.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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