Mittwoch, 13. Juni 2012

The paradox faith in science

There is one argument often coming up in discussion with self proclaimed optimists when talking about the upcoming energy crisis or climate collapse:

"Science, innovation and technology will take care of our problems; I have faith in our ingenuity."

Whenever I hear this, I usually give up all hope of reaching this person with logical arguments and try to change the subject. It is a paradox of religious proportions that requires blind faith and a life of indoctrination to accept. We have come to point in our history when (honest) scientists across most fields of natural sciences will tell you something like:

"Our scientific research shows that mankind has some grave problems and with these problems, we can’t help you anymore, there are physical limits to what technological progress can acchieve, you as a member of society and as a individual are the only one that can help you now."

But these honest scientists will be ignored and dismissed as doomsayers by the same persons that in the next sentence will praise the ingenuity of scientific progress.

In case of peak oil, it’s the geologists, the engineers, the physicists, the anthropologists, the chemists etc. that point out the limits of growth since more than 50 years. In the case of climate change it’s the IPCC that is made up of over 1200 climate scientists surveyed by 2500 peer reviewers that verified their results.

Be aware that I would not urge you to believe anything these scientists say, at least not before having doubted them and checked their methods, their motivations and their results.For science, more than anything needs doubt. Doubt is the driving force behind human ingenuity and the only true source of knowledge. Having faith in science is as much an untenable contradiction as proving the existence of God.

But after having (at least by some estimates) checked scientific results, (and only then), blind faith is replaced by knowledge.

But the self proclaimed optimists and believers in scientific progress arrive in this blissful state of delusion by "intuition" only, usually without any real knowledge and ignoring proof they could see with their own eyes.

If they would, just for a minute, use the methods of scientific heuristics to gather knowledge by observing nature, instead of relying to being passively fed the half truths and regurgitated lies on TV, they might see the paradox they are caught up in.

Today, our media seems more successful in making people accept untenable contradictions than the Catholic Church ever was. It is if as we have lost all common sense we had since Aristotle has formulated the "law of non-contradiction" over 2000 years ago.

So, please, just as Albert A. Bartlett says in his famous lecture, recheck whatever I say, don’t trust me on faith, but more important, don’t trust yourself. We, as humans often lie to ourselves much more than anyone else ever does. The only cure to delusion and the trappings of our mind are the tools that science has invented.

If you want to have faith in something have faith, that in using these tools you will acquire knowledge, and knowledge you have gained in this way is something you can put your trust in.

Why cant innovation save us in the face of peak oil? Read here.

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