“Between those who think that civilization is a victory for man in the struggle against the determinism of things [Patriots]. . . and those who want to make of man a thing among things [Socialists], there is no possible scheme of reconciliation. . . .” — John Lukacs

Dinesh D'Souza @ ygodinstitute.com

Dinesh D’Souza @ ygodinstitute.com

Why the pronouncement, “Settled Science” is so abysmally wrong:

 “…science has no capacity to apprehend reality itself; at best it can discover truths about the world of experience. Here, too, physical science is restricted to the objective domain, and large areas of human experience ─ all subjective thoughts and feelings, including morality and esthetics and personal and social relationships ─ lie outside its bounds. Even within its acknowledged jurisdiction, science discovers not final, but only provisional truths, always subject to amendment as new evidence comes in. If we take as truth what science today holds to be true, we would do well to remember that a hundred years ago the advocates of science adopted precisely the same position, and yet virtually every scientific proposition of that era has been radically revised or replaced in the intervening decades. It is quite likely that many scientific truths of today will look quaint, if not ridiculous, a hundred years from now.” ─ Life After Death, The Evidence, Copyright © 2009 by Dinesh D’Souza, Regnery Publishing, Washington DC, Page 204.

Pierre Duhem, 1861-1916

Pierre Duhem, 1861-1916

 “In [physicist] Duhem’s account, physical theories are not ultimate explanations but representations.  They do not reveal the true nature of matter but give general rules of which laws are particular cases.  Theoretical propositions are not true or false but “convenient” or “inconvenient.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page xi of 290 Pages.

 [On theoretical physics and the asinine belief in ‘settled science’:] “It is, as we have said, a system―a symbolic construction―designed to summarize in a small number of definitions and principles a set of experimental laws.  This is its role, useful but modest.  It is all too easy to exaggerate it.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 14.

 “It is always at the origin of science that its role is most badly defined.  Those who create it are inclined to exaggerate its scope more than others.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 17.

 “Born from metaphysical and theological doctrines about the connections between the infinite and finite―that is, between the supernatural and natural―mathematical analysis has, in return, exercised an influence on metaphysics and theology that has not always been  exempt from tyrannical aspirations.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 19.

 “To maintain a theory that the facts contradict shows evidence of a childlike obstinacy.  As for those―and there are some―who conceal or knowingly falsify the results of experiments about the facts they are charged to observe in order to avoid ruining an idea whose success flatters their vanity, it is no longer up to logic to condemn their error but to morals or morality to permit their trickery from flourishing.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 21.

 “Mathematics is…the instrument necessary to construct all physical theory.  But it is only a means, not an end.  If we wish to avoid the abuse of mathematical physics, we must never lose sight of this principle.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 25.

“Physics is the study of phenomena arising from brute matter and of the laws that govern these phenomena.

Cosmology seeks to understand the nature of brute matter, considered as the cause of phenomena and as the foundation of (raison d’être) of physical laws.

Hence there exists a distinction in kind between metaphysics and physics.

It is important, however, not to be mistaken about the origin of this distinction.  It does not follow from the nature of the thing studied, but only from the nature of our intellects.  An intellect which had a direct intuitive view of the essence of things―such as, according to the teaching of the theologians, an angel’s intellect―would not make any distinction between physics and metaphysics.  Such an intellect would not know successively the phenomena and the substance―that is, the cause of the phenomena.  It would be much the same for an intellect that had no direct intuition of the essence of things but an adequate―though indirect―view through the beatific vision of divine thought.” ― Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 31.

 “…physical theories and metaphysical truths are independent of one another.” Pierre Duhem, Essays in the History and Philosophy of Science, translated and edited, with introduction, by Roger Ariew and Peter Barker, Copyright © 1996 by Hackett Publishing, Inc., Page 37.

 

About Michael

Retired military officer; retired Air Force civil servant; retired executive, DS Information Systems Corporation; writer; researcher; reader and avid yachtsman.
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