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The truth about the truth IV - Hollywood's version

27 February 2014, 11:08

We know that the pursuit of knowledge about the absolute truth is a tragic misunderstanding, a run in a vicious circle of circular reasoning. We know that the truth should be defined pragmatically (I choose a theory which, when implemented in practice, brings me closer to my objectives).We also know that we have the right to believe in the consistency of our pragmatically defined truth with the absolute truth. I know that even though the absolute truth is probably only one, there are as many pragmatic truths as many objectives there are. Nothing we can help about it, because such are the laws of human reasoning. We have established also that the truth must be defined in a verifiable manner, and that natural science’s methods can be employed for this task.

Before we move forward, let’s consider what people need a worldview for.

Worldview is a collection of opinions about the world. This collection may contain views on various important and unimportant matters ranging from morality in everyday life and ending on the existence of the unicorns, or orbiting teapots. Among these ideas there are also those that form the basis for decisions a person makes.

How Santa does it?

The purpose of Santa’s worldview is so Santa could live in harmony with himself.

In other words – Santa needs his worldview to fulfil his needs and desires in the most effective way. It looks, at first glance like hedonism or wishful thinking and an extreme egoism on top of it, but, in fact, it is neither of it. You’ll see it if you put it in a broader context of Santa’s selection criteria:

A.      A. Conclusions have to be useful for Santa in practice ,

B.      B. Conclusions have to be logically consistent ,

C.      C. Conclusions have to be consistent with other Santa’s desires.

D.      D. The most important criterion is (A), the least important - (C).

Criteria A-D are an optimality criteria. Santa choses a worldview which meets these criteria better.  

First of all, on the basis of the criterion (A) Santa doesn’t reject conclusions of scientific research.  Natural sciences are so constructed that they are the most practical way of describing and controlling the sensory phenomena, and Santa’s senses reaction to the Santa’s actions are pretty basic contribution to Santa’s feeling of efficacy of his theorizing and his actions.

Point (C) plays a specific role in the system. If Santa is faced with several options to choose from, he rejects those that are inconsistent with the results of scientific research first. In the next step Santa rejects those that are logically incoherent. And if there are still some options acceptable from the point of view of logic and knowledge of the natural sciences - Santa chooses the option that suits him better. This decision is quite natural and in fact it is difficult to do differently.

Santism is consistently rationalistic and realistic, because it is created using scientific methodology (his definition of truth is based on pragmatism) and it demands full compliance with the reason and sense-data.  It is also a worldview consistently agnostic, because it is designed on the consistently applied knowledge about the inability to distinguishing the absolute truth from what the absolute truth is considered to be in practice. Inconsistently agnostic worldviews limit the conclusions drawn from this knowledge only to the answer to the question about the existence of God, but they forget about the corresponding proposals for the answer to the question about the existence of anything specific at all - for example the existence of the world without God, the existence of matter, or even the existence of other people.

How scientismist does it?

A decision to adopt the worldview called scientism is equal to the recognition that the description of the world and the people made ??in the context of the natural sciences is a description that encompasses all what is important in a human life. Scientism considers non-scientific statements as unfit for use not just in science but also in a worldview of scientismist.

However, evaluation of non-scientific statements as useless in worldview can’t be done within the framework of science. Science can’t compare scientific with non-scientific because it would go beyond the range of its validity. The only scientific evaluation of the non-scientific statements can go like "non-scientific statements are useless in science".  In order for non-scientific statements to be unsuitable in a worldview, one must first additionally assume that what is useless for science is also useless in a worldview. This way, the statement that we had to prove became necessary as an assumption - the proof is therefore impossible because it would have to be done in a circle. For this reason any decision to adopt purposes of science as own ones is non-scientific.

Note also that scientism is not so much about the quest for the development of science, medicine and technology, but about treating such activities as comprehensive answer to the question about the sense of human life. On a side note it is worth noting that extreme scientism claiming that non-scientific statements are untrustworthy is a belief which, according to its own criteria shouldn’t be trusted.

Therefore the basic problem with scientism is that it is based on unclearly designed criteria and goal. One may get the impression that it is only about the study and the concentration on getting to know what can be cognized. In reality, however scientism has no possibility of determining by any means that it is moving towards achieving its goals. In fact, scientism motivated by success, credibility and authority of natural sciences is the quest for exactly what it tried to avoid: a search for metaphysical, absolute truth.

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