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How Science Works - Dhamma Wheel

How Science Works

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Kim OHara
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How Science Works

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:17 am


chownah
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Re: How Science Works

Postby chownah » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:04 pm

This person is talking about "organized science" as opposed to "science".....sort of like the difference between "organized religion" and "religion"....or "organized buddhism" and "buddhism".
chownah

Moggalana
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Re: How Science Works

Postby Moggalana » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:08 pm

Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.

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mikenz66
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Re: How Science Works

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:51 pm


chownah
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Re: How Science Works

Postby chownah » Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:19 pm

What other sort is there? Well, there is real "science" which is a way of looking at the world and discovering which of our preconceived notions of the world are wrong. It seems from most of the posts above that there is a widespread misconception of what science really is. Science can only be done by individuals (since it is a view of the world and organizations themselves don't have world views). Real science is in my experience in every way compatible with the Buddha's teachings. Seems like the posts above are mostly talking about administrative wonks and not scientists...although I suppose it is possible to be both I do think that these are two completely two different kinds of interaction and a person probably needs to be good at compartmentalizing their mind to be able to perform both...I guess. I think that to confuse these two activities confuses people about he nature of real science as evidenced by the posts above, many of which in my view show a lack of understanding of the difference.

Maybe think about my original comparison....think about "organized religion" and "religion" or "organized Buddhism" and "Buddhism"....if you understand these then the "organized science" vs. "science" thing should come clear.

As for specific examples.....if you studied soil biology you could collect samples of dirt from just about any region of the world and with not much more than a microscope and a few accessories do all the science needed to become a PhD....but remember that while I use a PhD as a level of achievement in "science" it only has any meaning in the realms of "organized science".

chownah

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mikenz66
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Re: How Science Works

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:47 pm


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BlackBird
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Re: How Science Works

Postby BlackBird » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:27 pm

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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mikenz66
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Re: How Science Works

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:36 pm

Hi Jack,

While of course there is some truth in what he says, remember that Ajahn Brahm does not have the experience of doing a research degree. Of course, he does have a bachelors degree from a leading University, so I wouldn't completely dismiss what he says, but he seems relatively uninterested in grappling with many of the interesting questions that science raises. Unlike, say, B. Alan Wallace, who has a bachelors degree in physics, and a PhD in Buddhist studies and has written some excellent books and articles on connections, or lack thereof, between science and Buddhist thought.

In fact, what Ajahn Brahm observed is what I mentioned in my posts. Scientists spend time solving technical problems, arguing about stuff, organising stuff, building careers, fighting for funding, and so on. Just normal human stuff. It's the overall process, not some mystical "seeker of truth" that is ultimately important in making technical progress.

To use AB's common phrase: "What did you expect?"

Metta
Mike

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BlackBird
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Location: New Zealand

Re: How Science Works

Postby BlackBird » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:43 pm

I don't really have an opinion either way Mike, just thought the article was good and relevant to the thread :)

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

chownah
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Re: How Science Works

Postby chownah » Wed Mar 24, 2010 2:48 pm

Perhaps what "scientists" do is different from what "science" is.......seems like if one wants to be employed in the realm of corporate science (mostly universities and big businesses) then you will have to put up with the BS which comes along with those realms.....just because you think of yourself of as a "scientist" doesn't mean that those who run these enterprises will suddenly change their entire life paradigm and treat you with civility....although some of those people might.....I have held a still beating heart (removed seconds before from a tranplant patient) and pondered whether in a previous life I had been an Aztec priest and should take a big bite out of it but I decided not to.....and my big boss there was one of the greatest people and bosses I have ever met or worked for.....in corporate science you never know....my immediate supervisor was one of the worst to work for.....you just never know.....
cownah

Dudenextdoor
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Re: How Science Works

Postby Dudenextdoor » Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:02 am

You can view it cynically or idealistically, but what makes science "science" is that every would-be belief must be tested and not accepted blindly. This is tested first with logic--does the view make sense in light of what is already known? Each scientist has to make that decision on their own, and of course, because humans tend to have a bias first and foremost to themselves and their own ideas, a bad idea may pass this test. But then there are the other two tests: experimentation and peer review. And the more experiments you do, and the more people who are out to prove you wrong, the better! This is the only way that truly bad ideas will be eliminated from the arena. Experimentation often has the final say: no matter what the idea is, no matter how simple and beautiful and elegant one's hypothesis, it can be utterly killed by one single, ugly fact. And when experiments and peer review differ, the challenge to the peers is to explain the experimental results. If further experimentation shows there is even so much as one lonely exception to the original scientist's hypothesis, the challenge falls on the scientist to explain that exception and see whether or not it can be understood within the framework of his or her original understanding.

In one respect, Buddhism and science are very compatible: when you find out experimentally that the world doesn't match your theories, you must change your theories (or you risk being one of the "funerals" Planck talked about in the quotation above). I seem to remember the Buddha saying something along these same lines: don't just believe because of authority, but rather, go out and test and see whether these teachings are true. (Forgive me if I've misquoted at all.)

In a different respect, though, one might argue that because some aspects of Buddhism are not testable in any conclusive way--reincarnation, any type of afterlife, etc. (and these aren't just Buddhism; most faiths apply here in one way or another)--they are therefore not scientific claims and fall outside of the scientific method. The choice becomes that of believing although there is not conclusive proof, or not believing because there is not conclusive proof. Most scientists may side with the latter, but I don't think most would begrudge anyone the former, just as long as they don't start claiming something is "science" when it's not. For example, the group Answers In Genesis claims to have "scientific" evidence that the world was made only 6,000 years ago. ...This is when scientists worldwide will start to become a bit collectively peeved at a religious view.


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