FLASHBACK! KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science

Science is important to me. Though I am a trained scientist and truly embrace the scientific method as a great way to go about answering questions, I think we treat science, the method, and scientISTS as if they were something special. We/They’re not. It is very important to me to help people understand what science IS and, more importantly, what it IS NOT.

The first point I try to make in this video, and whenever talking about science is that IT’S JUST A METHOD. What we call science is the set of instructions about how to go about asking questions (the scientific method), and draw inferential conclusions as a result. Ideally, but very rarely, these results are then transformed FROM scientific methodology, complicated statistics, and field specific jargon, to meaningful statements most people can understand. But this last step almost never happens, and when it does, it isn’t interpreted by scientists, but by laypersons.

Here’s the rub: The RESULTS of SCIENCE, produced following and according to the SCIENTIFIC METHOD, have to be filtered through a DISCOURSE comprised of US HUMANS. Science is nothing special except having some rules to follow in order to produce a desired result. Think about that statement. It’s not that much different from religion or governmental laws. These things are methods or systems of organizing or going about completing a task(s) in ways that make sense to a large number of people or constituents. In other words, these methods are vetted up front by groups of people, and their results are filtered through a discourse comprised of thoughts, interpretations, and opinions of those same people.

I will develop and explain this concept in much more detail beginning with Episode 50 and my efforts to develop concise products about this and related subjects. But here I introduce the idea that science is just a method used to answer questions, that we, as people interested in these questions, are not doing our job, and the scientist have become so separated from the public discourse that the method itself is incomplete, and becoming ineffective.

Original blog with podcast and video links here https://chrisburcher.com/2020/12/25/kew-episode-35-beyond-science/

KEW Episode 48: Unlearning

As I move toward Episode 50 and what I hope to be a major shift in what I’m working toward with KEW, I realize how important Unlearning is. 

How do we KNOW if we REALLY know what we THINK we know?

Well, we don’t. But we can think about it. And unlearning comes in to play as a necessary ‘next step’ for those of us who have ever asked this kind of question. Or questions like:

Who am I?
What’s all this about?
What’s the meaning of life?
Is there life after death?
Why is my dad so racist?

Generally, Unlearning is only important to people who have ever wondered WHY they feel a certain way, think a certain way, or behave a certain way. Where did this ‘certain way’ come from? I’ll develop this idea much further after episode 50, but for now let’s say that MUCH of what we think, what we ARE, WHO we are comes from stuff we never really thought much about. Things we automatically learned as we grew up. Some of it we learned before we even had awareness. Or free will. Some of us carry these beliefs into adulthood. Some of us never know.

But for those of us who DO know. Who have asked these types of questions (who ARE you?). The first thing we have to do is recognize what we really KNOW and FEEL and BELIEVE and what’s just a bunch of stuff we learned. And then to sort of ‘wipe the slate clean’ and start over. That’s where UNLEARNING comes in. That’s all I’m saying when I say UNLEARN.

It’s about questioning our beliefs and our thoughts. It’s about figuring out what we DO think and believe. And about getting on the path toward exploring what life is all about. It’s pretty simple.

I hope you enjoy this week’s episode and stick around for what’s to come. Please follow me on my blog and/or YouTube and SIGN UP for weekly emails so you can participate in the development of these ideas.

Direct link to podcast audio: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8549500-kew-episode-48-unlearning.mp3?download=true

And PLEASE follow me on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google play, or whichever app you use.

Direct link to YouTube video: https://youtu.be/TKpJgTCnDeY

Preview KEW Episode 48: Unlearning

I’m beginning to believe that before we can really learn anything, we have to unlearn everything we ‘know’ related to that thing. Not necessarily because of a limited capacity to learn, but because a lot of what we ‘know’ can be unhelpful, misleading, or outright wrong.

Maybe this is a controversial statement, that much of what we ‘know’ is wrong. But it seems obvious to me at this point that we have been taught a whole bunch of stuff that we have never thought about.

Examples I use in this episode include religion, politics, and music. There are tons more. An example of being wrong about what you know is your religions affiliation. Are you a Christian? How? Why? Did you make that decision? When? Did you consider all of the other religions equally and then DECIDE you were Christian? Hopefully, you see what I’m saying.

Some things we just never THINK about, but we LEARNED them. From our parents. Our siblings. Our extended family. Our school teachers. Our bosses. All of the people around us teach us things every day. Some of this we are aware of.

Probably we learn things before we can really comprehend them. No ones fault, it’s just a thing that happens. Then it’s just a matter of whether or not we ever realize this and, if we do, whether we then try to decide for ourselves.

Oh yeah, unlearning. So before we can really LEARN anything, we have to unlearn the stuff we learned when we weren’t paying attention. So, if that’s true – did we really LEARN it in the first place? I don’t know about that, but I think we still have to unlearn first.

Full podcast and video episodes this Friday on KEW.

Preview KEW Episode 35: Beyond Science. Metaphysics?

During my brief stint as a philosophy major I really wanted to learn about Metaphysics. Mostly because I thought it sounded cool, but I really knew nothing about it. I’m not sure much has changed in that respect. But I was thinking recently about things that can’t be explained using the scientific method, like Self and Soul (KEW Episodes 33 and 34) and, well, this led to Episode 35.

Science is great, but it was designed to measure things. And those things have to be measureABLE. Quantifiable. So we can use math. Physics might be the crowing achievement of the sciences (but they’re all good) but just can’t do it all. So I think of metaphysics as being beyond physics – beyond the best science into a new realm

In the Soul episode I wondered aloud whether particles might have some precursor to awareness, and that this might lead to awareness when organized into a human mind. As with most ideas I have, I’m not the first one to offer this theory, but it was new to me at the time. The alternative, of course, is that particles do NOT have any awareness and that human consciousness or awareness is unique, and maybe magical. Either way this isn’t a question science can answer. Very well, if at all.

I’m sure I’ll keep pushing into the soul/self/awareness/consciousness space because I find it interesting. But first, a bit about what science can and can’t do, and a plea for more philosophy.

Preview video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=450945185901457

Full Episode this Friday.