Tuesday, November 26, 2019

In Science We Trust

Science is all about discovery, and should always aspire to be rigorous and open in the face of the great unknown. But scientists are human too, with the same tendencies to slide back into comfortable ways of thinking just as the rest of us. Virtually every scientific and scholarly discipline struggles against the tendency to become defensive and collapse into dogmatic thinking.

Science is exceptionally adept at studying features of the external world, but so far it has barely scratched the surface at developing ways to study what lies beyond or within. Part of the failure is due to the method that gives science its power. The origin of the word science is from the Latin for “to know”, “to distinguish by separating”, rooted in the Latin sindere, “to cut”. These meanings capture the essence of the scientific application of reductionism, working only for things that can be separated. There is much left over in the world we know that cannot be separated, especially at the quantum level. Science does not know what to do with anything that cannot be sliced and diced.

There are certain assumptions about the nature of reality that most of us agree with, based upon the established scientific worldview. If we accept that worldview as absolute and inviolate, as most scientists do, then any evidence outside of those assumptions, whether anecdotal or derived from controlled circumstances, just doesn't matter. Such phenomena are considered impossible and written off, so that's that.

There is convincingly strong scientific evidence for the validity of such things as telepathy, remote viewing, and precognition, among other psi phenomena, yet the scientific community balks at accepting such findings as valid and worthy of further exploration. These ideas are too far removed from scientific dogma.

I personally have had a broad experience with all manner of strange encounters that make for great stories for entertaining friends around a campfire. Most of my stories that are “outside the box” of the consensual scientific worldview generally draw an indulgent chuckle and some light-hearted eye-rolling; even my closest friends generally reject any kind of acceptance of the expanded reality that I consider as valid and real.

Even though I base most of my personal beliefs of such things upon personal experience and anecdotes, I have asked some of my more logical and reasonable friends what amount of evidence or data would it take for them to accept such “strange” phenomena as valid or at least possible. Surprisingly, most have responded that no amount of data would change their minds. I've then asked them what research they have read, and they mostly admit they haven't taken any time to look more closely at whatever we're talking about. While they may take issue with my settling upon beliefs without the support of scientific findings, they have arrived at their opposing beliefs, as well, without any supporting evidence.

Skepticism is a good thing if one thinks something contradicts settled thinking on any matter. But when credible data exists that the impossible is in fact real, it is time to acknowledge and expand one's worldview to include new findings. But we are stuck with being human, I guess. Even in the face of clear evidence, we tend to stick to entrenched dogmas and not believe anything new, even with proof. I have asked skeptical friends what it would take for them to become believers. Interestingly, almost without fail, most responded that it would take one strong personal experience – which is right back to the basis of my own beliefs about personal reality.

Staying within the boundaries of any scientific discipline stifles new discoveries and constrains genuine innovation. To advance the scientific worldview, we need always to pursue an understanding of the impossible, to cross over the boundaries of every discipline and seek to know what lies beyond the edge of what is known. Science defines for us what is true, but when it is asked to go beyond the boundaries of its methodology, science needs to find new ways to continue to explore what is considered not true... yet!!!!!!!!

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