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Excerpt from my new book, Beyond the 5 Senses:
"Is Science powerful because its true or true because it's powerful?"
As sources of information I consider channelling more illuminating than science because it is not predictive. No-one tells me what to think and what to do. Channelling merely presents information that we use or not: there is no expectation on anyone's part. If the information resonates, we go with it until such a time that we accept it as the best version of truth at that time. I am not happy in the way that science is used in today’s society simply because the scientific method has been sequestered by Big Business which in turn is controlled by a small number of cult operatives. Secondly, if Big Business funds many of the research projects we need real answers to, it is difficult although not impossible, to challenge their 'research conclusions' and hegemony. Science is also a very conservative business. If you get caught up in the logic of the Scientific Method and all it represents, the real danger is that you cannot see the woods for the trees. I develop this argument further within the perspective of Thomas Kuhn's book, 'Structure of Scientific Revolutions' which was published in 1962. I also argue Science is not objective simply because it is part of a social process. Big Science as it is practiced today is a marriage of commercial convenience between Big Business and Big Universities. Universities need research monies and grants. Big Business need specific research objectives with specific conclusions - before the research work is even agreed and carried out. The other issue of Science being blind today, relates to the Scientific Method itself when challenges to scientific orthodoxy and norms present themselves.
During the second and third years of my college degree, we carried out a module called the History and Philosophy of Science. This component of the curriculum had a major and profound effect on what I thought Science was and more importantly, how it worked. I learnt all the usual stuff: Bacon, Descartes, induction, deduction etc. but it was not until I read about Thomas Kuhn's book "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962)" that I actually sat up and started to take note of what was going on, both inside the lecture room and outside it. Kuhn described the why and how of Science as consisting of a series of stages, (a) paradigm /normal science, (b) anomaly, (c) scientific revolution, (d) mature stage and (e) paradigm /normal science. Kuhn says that a paradigm represents a base of existing knowledge whose fundamentals are not questioned but is sufficiently open-ended that normal research can still be carried out. A paradigm defines a scientific community at ease with itself and the paradigm can be thought of as a pyramid of knowledge, methods and ways of thinking in which normal science can be carried out. Hence Kuhn says of normal science that it "is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like". This state of affairs continues and is fine until an anomaly i.e. a contra-indication to the dominant scientific theory occurs is observed. Kuhn refers to this state within Science as a "scientific revolution" or the beginnings of a paradigm-shift in which the old and new theorists fight to displace each other's theory. For those scientists defending their old position or theory, this is a time of enormous change, doubt and uncertainty. A perfect example of this is the displacement (literally) of the Theory of Shifting Continents to the Theory of Plate Tectonics to explain crustal movements. It is a tug of war between the old and the new. Eventually and due to its greater explanatory power, the new science replaces the old science. The new science then becomes institutionalised i.e. it reaches the "mature science" stage, becomes the 'new normal' i.e. Theory. When this stage is reached, the focus of research turns inwards within the confines of that particular theory. This new paradigm reigns supreme until yet again, another anomaly challenges the supremacy of the existing paradigm. In this way, Kuhn argues, Science progresses.
The recently acquired theory quickly spreads throughout the scientific community and its fundamentals are taught to students who become fully-fledged researchers or tutors in their own right. The circular route of scientific enquiry revolves within itself as the former students teach its fundamentals to new students and so on. The point I make here is that in this stage of the scientific process, any question asked or any experiment undertaken is defined within the specific terrain of that theoretical model. In effect, it is a period of consolidation of existing data, no more than a refining or tweaking process to support and re-enforce the existing paradigm. Other variables outside the parameters of this paradigm are not even considered. Most scientists today undertake the bulk of this type of research and they do it unwittingly or knowingly. Many scientists are ignorant of the philosophy behind the scientific method. The implication of this for Science is that, for much of the time, most scientists follow a predetermined line of enquiry where questions posed are framed within the confines of that particular model subset of a theory. If the existing theory is wrong it will not show itself wrong until new or conflicting anomalies rolls into view: this happens by accident, rather than by design. Kuhn's 'normal science' has powerful implications for defining research agendas and working within the logic of its method. The implications for most scientists working in the "normal science" phase is that the fundamental assumptions inherent within the theory have become accepted knowledge. Scientific enquiry now becomes akin to perception. Researchers expect a certain outcome, nay, they are trained to look for specific objectives and easily miss data that is right under their nose. They miss it because they are not looking for it and when this unexpected outcome presents itself in most of their experimental data, they explain it away as 'outlier' or experimental error. I was very lucky because my old poly, Thames Polytechnic Greenwich (now called University of Greenwich) farsightedly offered The History & Philosophy of Science as a module to all wanna-be scientists. Not all science graduates were as lucky as me. Unfortunately, Science is by nature, conservative. It now takes lots of observation and data to supplant an old Theory. As explained previously, Science is a social process and most scientists have families to support, egos to flame and reputations to live up to. If you happen to be a well-respected professor with numerous grants and a ‘chair’ sponsored by industry with 50 years developing and refining a particular aspect of an enshrined model or scientific theory, it’s difficult to see all your work go up in flames as a new scientific paradigm shapes into view. Lives and reputations are on the line and the ensuing academic bag-fight for scientific validity is a squalid and ill-tempered affair.
Long gone are the days in which wealthy philanthropes laboured in darkly-lit laboratories seeking that 'eureka' moment of elucidation and discovery. The very strength of science lies in its Method. The very weakness of Science is subversion of the Scientific Method by Big Industry or any other agency with a bias for getting their version of 'scientific proof and truth' accepted. In a nutshell, the ones who fund science also ask the questions. You can have amazing science carried out by well-respected scientists but, if you are not asking the right questions, it is quite literally 'rubbish in and rubbish out'. Modern-day science can be used to provide a socially acceptable fortress around your version of 'truth'. This is not to belittle science; I merely state it is reductionist in its methods and ignores that which it cannot understand nor define within its own logic. In order to train as a scientist, you need to understand the basics of its inquiry such as the ‘scientific method’. The method itself has been taught to me several times and I followed it either as student or researcher. I also understood that the scientific method can operate from an ‘inductive or deductive’ framework. I was gifted as a student to be taught aspects of the philosophy and history of science from the first years of my training even though I knew very little about science itself. As an environmental sciences student I was also interested in some aspects of sociology that dealt with ideologies. The idea that Science was a social process was widened and deepened within me when I started to study Marx and Gramsci in particular. Karl Marx put forward the notion that we think and operate within a chain of ideas that fix our world view on how the world really is. These ideas influence and determine our world view of a situation or problem. More importantly, this world-view dictates how that problem is defined, handled and resolved. I cannot see any fundamental differences in the social processes defined in Marx's theory and the social processes that impact the workings of the Scientific method inherent within Kuhn's book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. It is clear that Science, like established religion, is grounded within a particular way of looking at the world. Therefore, whatever it studies is 'true' only within the circular logic of its particular paradigm. Unfortunately, Science, like religion, is able to sustain and replicate itself through time and space because it has powerful social foundations and links. Powerful social structures such as mainstream media, educational establishments, learned organisations such as the Royal Society, legitimate much of what Big Science says about current truth.
Significantly, these power structures within society add a further layer of conservatism within Science. If you happen to be a newly-graduated scientific researcher on say, CO2 - global warming or vaccines/virologist etc. you do not realise for the most part that you are trapped within an ideological velvet-clad prison. Workers caught inside circular ideological bubbles cannot see the box, never mind thinking outside it. During my science degree course, our final exam essay title was called “Is science 'true' because it's powerful or powerful because its 'true”!! I argued in my essay that, in the ultimate analysis, Science is largely funded by Big Business and its 'truth' is questionable because it can only ask questions of a particular nature. If that scientific truth supports the agenda of Big Business, any subsequent research by those industries and its scientists will be biased. Also, if Big Business sponsors much of the research undertaken, these industries will not ask real questions of themselves that may later compromise their particular industrial process or area of application. Superimposed on all these factors is the fact that Science is by definition a conservative venture and the over-turning of a scientific paradigm takes time and is fraught with much difficulty. Needless to say, I did not get a good mark for my essay!! During my PhD work, I carried out research within the framework of normal science. However, any research PhD should aim to be original. To carry out original work yet walk in the shoes of the accepted scientific method becomes very problematic to any student of science. The area of research I was involved with was radioactivity discharged from the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant and what happens to it once it deposits within the environment. I never dreamt my research data would produce such huge resistance from my project supervisors. I used more or less the same experimental procedures as other workers in this field, yet my interpretation of data was dramatically different. I dared to challenge the prevailing scientific paradigm because I could see huge implications of biological harm to those living close to and some distance from Sellafield. Suffice to say, the last couple of years of carrying out my practical research were not a happy time for me but it was an opportunity to see and experience what goes on at the 'coal-face' of Big Science. I was a small cog caught between my university (Imperial College) and the industry that sponsored this work, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) and the Atomic Energy Agency (AEA). My first science degree included the teachings of Kuhn at an early crucial stage of my student days. It enabled me to see how circular arguments and circular theoretical models work in practical science. Thomas Kuhn’s ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ deeply resonated with me. Science, like any other discipline has its own way of looking at the world and to simplify that world, everything is accorded a box, label or classification. Once trained in its methods, it is difficult to see outside its circular views. The scientific method tells you what to do and how to do it. It is a process with criteria and if the stated outcome falls outside that outcome, it is dismissed as ‘experimental error’, its defining conclusions are missed because they are not looking for it or simply ignored. Science should be a revolutionary art yet, because of inherent paradigms of thought and subsequent behaviour, many workers are purposefully led along many avenues of red herrings. I discarded the basic tenets of science many years ago because it could not answer some very, very basic questions. Science itself is purposely devoid of feelings, colours and emotions, the very qualities that all human beings possess. It is almost as if a single quality of being a good scientist is to be ‘objective’ and to distance oneself from all social and cultural processes. Clearly, this is not possible. If science was objective and sought truth about an event, it would be innovative and present society with all sorts of surprises. In fact, nearly all science carried out today is on behalf of the military industrial complex and I call it Big Science because it has global interlocking ingredients of financial, military, social and political power. Independent research is relatively rare. If you follow the money trails that fund Big Science, it ultimately leads you to its agenda. In that sense, science is no different to any other social construct. Its activities are mostly funded with organisations that have a particular ideological bias or perspective. Clearly, he who pays the piper also calls the tune. This unspoken relationship between Big Science and Industry is equivalent to having a pink elephant in the corner of the laboratory: no-one speaks its name even though the name of the sponsor is on the door of that research laboratory!
In summary, Science, like religion, is based on a belief system which operates firmly within its own chain of logic. The chain of ideas defined by the logic of the theory defines and determines what is and what is not worthy of study. However, if we are using a 'one dimensional model' to investigate and provide answers of the 3D natural world, our understanding of what is really occurring will be limited by the imposed parameters of an 'incomplete' model or quasi, immature theory. Science was not originally set up to operate in that way. If we are ignorant of the very basic parameters of the scientific method, anything that comes out of that marriage is nothing more than an idea. One example of this ignorance is the message from the mainstream media that “there is a 97% consensus on the causes of global warming”. Science does not work on consensus; it works by observation and falsification. You falsify a statement by setting your experimental procedures to prove your ideas on how things work is incorrect. For example, if you want to prove that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide emitted from societal and industrial processes, you are required to falsify your statement by looking at past global temperature records and direct/indirect CO2 measurement data where possible. If your statement is correct, you should see little temperature rise until the advent of the Industrial Age. If you find that temperature fluctuates globally over different periods in our history and well before the advent of the Industrial Age, your hypothesis is smoke. Unfortunately, all the big ideas that confront society, its use of the environment and its effect on the populace in terms of biological health is played out within the newsrooms and TV stations of the mainstream media. Terms such as 'climate-deniers', anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists are spewed out ad nausea and it's all in the name of Science!! This is not science as envisaged by Bacon and Descartes, it is bias acting in disguise. I never quite got to the stage of total exclusion from the society of scientists because during my time as researcher I met some amazing people with amazing minds. Most of these individuals were doing the best they could under the circumstances in which they worked. It’s just that almost everything I was taught felt inadequate and as I progressed within my scientific journey, I realised that science itself was nothing more than a social construct anyway. I think it is high time we acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. Accept that our true knowledge of any system is limited and be more open to new ways of interpreting existing scientific or other data. In other words, Science is just one way of looking at the world. To identify the unifying principles of Life we must involve the insight of other approaches including a spiritual perspective. Nowadays, the high gods and priestesses of science are its quantum physicists. These individuals are slowly making links between consciousness and experimental outcomes: Quite simply, everything in life is connected. At this time, we do not have the analytical equipment nor mindset to explore the nature of 'quantum' space-entanglement. This entanglement also includes the effects of our consciousness in determining experimental outcomes. That is the sole reason why the experimenter will always bias the experiment and its outcome. This is old news to most woo-woo individuals who follow a spiritual path of colour, light, emotions, feelings and everything else that Life offers us. The exquisite and multi-dimensional nature of Life cannot be revealed through the prism of a veil stretched across the microscope; the marriage between science and spiritual-based inquiry is just around the corner and it will bear much fruit. In any event, I turned elsewhere in my journey of inquiry into how things work by launching into lots of spiritual activities. This inner journey does resonate with me and is a source of never-ending unfolding. Life is full of mysteries; I will never know its full magnitude. My understandings of most things are limited, and I am OK with that. If we knew all the answers before we begin, what would be the point of any inquiry?
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