Before I ‘retired’ to stay home with my kids I was an academic research scientist. I taught classes, advised students, and led a research lab. I was pretty successful. The only reason I share that is to say I feel like I’ve earned the right to explain what science is, and what it ISN’T. In Episode 1 I shared a bit about what science is, and now I want to talk about what it is not.
Science is very good at asking questions about things we can measure, but it isn’t very good at addressing the unmeasurable things. Like emotions, intelligence (even though we try with the IQ), colors, music . . . Some things just don’t fit into the scientific method. And that’s OK! Some things, many things actually, are measured indirectly and sort of forced to fit into science, and that’s ok, too. Take my former scientific field, ecology, for example. Many ecosystems can’t be replicated (there’s only one Earth), so ecology doesn’t fit exactly into hypothesis testing and statistics, but we do it anyway. Science is pretty robust, but there are still things outside the realm of investigation via the scientific method.
So what do we do? Well, there’s metaphysics, a field which I know little to nothing about. But I like the idea of metaphysics because it’s ‘beyond’ physics. And physics is arguably one of the most advanced fields of science. So, metaphysics goes beyond physics but with an appreciation and understanding of the underlying principles of particles and such.
But I think calling it metaphysics, if I’m anywhere close to understanding what it is, is probably not necessary. I think we all understand, at least a little, that science can’t do everything. So we probably also accept that there are other forms of thinking that are totally acceptable.
The major difference I see, between scientific thinking and ‘other kinds of ‘ thinking, is the standardization procedures. If anyone can just ‘think’ their way through problems, how do you know what is accurate? How many hair-brained things have you heard people say? Are all of our ideas really just opinions? There has to be someway to filter through the crummy thinking to get to the good stuff. How do we determine what’s good?
While that question may be another podcast in and of itself, in Episode 35 I offer my thoughts about how we go about non-scientific thinking as a community. Similar to science we must peer-review each other’s thoughts through a traditional discourse. I long for a world where structured thinking about metaphysical subject is widespread and follows a systematic approach developed cooperatively by all of us.
Podcast download link here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/6975298-kew-episode-35-beyond-science.mp3?blob_id=29706826&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.
YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/Daii2LHwlBg