Science and realism
#13
(01-May-2013, 11:48 AM)ramesh Wrote: 3. //Am I correct when I say there is no such a thing as science without realism? If not why?//

I did not get any specific answer, I think.

How would we know why you say " there is no such a thing as science without realism? " ? Please provide your reasoning. People here can point out whether are not you are right in making that statement based on your reasoning.
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#14
//Can you please explain. List all the assumptions you made to arrive at that question.//


The only assumption was: Atheism subscribes to the science and scientific method.

Thus the said question was in the sense of //isn't it is expected of atheism to know whether science/scientific method exists with or without realism?// and I meant nothing more!

I will really be thankful if you could suggest the better framing of the said question which seeks the long pending answer.
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#15
//How would we know why you say " there is no such a thing as science without realism? "//

1. Once I learnt in the atheist debate corner that religion works on idealism and science/method on realism. For these reasons there is no common ground etc.

I do agree fully that science cannot function without belief in the realism!

Now on some other group atheist is claiming that it is not so!

So want to know the exact position!

2. The topic under discussion is not subjective in nature where INTENTIONS/PURPOSE matters. Science/method and realism are objective in nature. Answers in r/o these DO NOT DEPEND on the these, I think.
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#16
(02-May-2013, 06:41 PM)ramesh Wrote: //Can you please explain. List all the assumptions you made to arrive at that question.//


The only assumption was: Atheism subscribes to the science and scientific method.

Thus the said question was in the sense of //isn't it is expected of atheism to know whether science/scientific method exists with or without realism?// and I meant nothing more!

I will really be thankful if you could suggest the better framing of the said question which seeks the long pending answer.

You have not answered my question at all. I repeat the question.

Quote:From someone acknowledging something to be a debatable topic how did you come to " Do you mean atheism has no firm view that science has no existence without realism?" ?

I can not aid you in framing your question. It is your job.
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#17
(02-May-2013, 06:50 PM)ramesh Wrote: //How would we know why you say " there is no such a thing as science without realism? "//

1. Once I learnt in the atheist debate corner that religion works on idealism and science/method on realism. For these reasons there is no common ground etc.

Now on some other group atheist is claiming that it is not so!

So want to know the exact position!

2. The topic under discussion is not subjective in nature where INTENTIONS/PURPOSE matters. Science/method and realism are objective in nature. Answers in r/o these DO NOT DEPEND on the these, I think.

No one cares about your intentions and purpose. The only important thing is the reasoning behind the statement you made. You have still not provided the reasoning behind your statement. But you want people here to answer whether your statement is correct or not.
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#18
//You have still not provided the reasoning behind your statement. But you want people here to answer whether your statement is correct or not.//

I replied

//Once I learnt in the atheist debate corner that religion works on idealism and science/method on realism. For these reasons there is no common ground etc. I do agree fully that science cannot function without belief in the realism!//


The reason that I learnt same in atheistic debates and agreed to the same. isn't that sufficient?

No reasons, simply I come to know it and I agreed to it! It is like someone told me 1+1=2 and I agreed. Does it need any other reasons?
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#19
Now I will tell you, why I agreed (reasoning which you seek) that science cannot work without realism to which atheists had proposed/agreed.

Realism means things do exist independent of the observers. If things start existing only in minds of the observer like idealism then axioms, assumptions etc and so the theorems/principles etc in the science/scientific method will be rendered void and null.

Even of the three isms which Arvindeyer described I hold that later two cannot work without the realism! He seems to hold the view that these isms supplement the scientific method whereas I claim that scientific method will lose the ground without realism for above sake.

Thus I conclude that RATIONALITY of science/scientific method stems from the BELIEF in realism. Without realism science or scientific method will no more be a rational one!

This is what I have understood so far.
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#20
(02-May-2013, 07:11 PM)ramesh Wrote: Even of the three isms which Arvindeyer described I hold that later two cannot work without the realism! He seems to hold the view that these isms supplement the scientific method whereas I claim that scientific method will lose the ground without realism for above sake.

Each of these earlier posts(1,2) attempts to explain how the interaction between an ontological stance like realism, and an active human endeavour like Science, cannot be suitably summarized into a single word like 'successor' or 'subset' or 'supplement' (unless one has other ideological motives for demanding such a pointless oversimplification).

To reiterate:
(i) In practice, personnel in scientific professions engaged in different steps of the scientific method do not take some kind of solemn oath of adherence to 'realism' or 'naturalism' reduced to some rules. They are able to function without overarching metanarratives, just like pigeon-breeders were doing just fine before Darwin summarized the working principle of their profession as 'artificial selection' in his Origin of Species.

(ii) In theory, an ontological stance close to Realism is operational in Science though not strictly fundamental, since much of Science proceeds phenomenologically without concern with underlying ontology or metaphysics. Phenomenological description is facilitated when what maybe called a realist nomenclature (in terms of 'public neutral objects') is employed.

Here is a useful reading in this regard about the distinction between methodological and metaphysical naturalism.

Lest the statement that 'realism is operational in Science' is viewed as some kind of concession about a weakness in the foundations of Science, here is an earlier post that forestalls such a misconception(often willful) by science-doubters and science-deniers.
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#21
we need to differentiate between philosophical realism and scientific realism
philosophical Realism : Contemporary philosophical realism is the belief that our reality, or some aspect of it, is ontologically independent of our conceptual schemes, linguistic practices, beliefs, etc. Realism may be spoken of with respect to other minds, the past, the future, universals, mathematical entities (such as natural numbers), moral categories, the material world, and thought. Realism can also be promoted in an unqualified sense, in which case it asserts the mind-independent existence of a visible world, as opposed to idealism, skepticism, and solipsism. Philosophers who profess realism state that truth consists in the mind's correspondence to reality (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_realism)
This is in opposite to idealism.It should be noted that one can be realist about certain things(say material world) and anti-realist about others(mathematical entities,moral truths). so when discussing realism before proceeding further we need to clear about which entities we are talking.

Scientific realism : It is a particular form of philosophical realism. Scientific realism is, at the most general level, the view that the world described by science (perhaps ideal science) is the real world, as it is, independent of what we might take it to be. Within philosophy of science, it is often framed as an answer to the question "how is the success of science to be explained?" The debate over what the success of science involves centers primarily on the status of unobservable entities apparently talked about by scientific theories. Generally, those who are scientific realists assert that one can make reliable claims about unobservables (viz., that they have the same ontological status) as observables, as opposed to instrumentalism. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_realism) .
The debate between scientific realism and antirealism arises when we consider the question what does the best confirmed theories tell about the external world.
The basic argument for scientific realism consists of 3 premises

The claims the theory makes are either true or false, depending on whether the entities talked about by the theory exist and are correctly described by the theory. This is the semantic commitment of scientific realism.
The entities described by the scientific theory exist objectively and mind-independently. This is the metaphysical commitment of scientific realism.
There are reasons to believe some significant portion of what the theory says. This is the epistemological commitment.

IA scientific anti-realist rejects any one or more of the above premises. One can be metaphysical realist and still be scientific anti-realist because you can reject any other two premises(semantic/epistemological). In fact most of scientific anti-realist are metaphysical realists.The current debate between scientific realism/anti-realism is mainly regarding UN-observable entities like electron etc. (see this short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDUciNH-gIE on philosophy of science). Instrumentalism is a prominent form of scientific anti-realism it is the view that a scientific theory is a useful instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as opposed to how accurately it describes objective reality.( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumentalism)

scientists can be both realists (like Einstein) or instrumentalists (like Feynman and other 'shut up and calculate' school of quantum mechanics. science doesn't explicit make metaphysical claims. it is the jobof philosophers of science to explain the metaphysical implications of science

There is a new position called structural realism which tries to combine both of them. see http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.in/20...ysics.html and http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/structural-realism/


For a detailed study of the topic see the book Understanding philosophy of science by James Ladyman ch 5 to 8
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#22
Dear Atheists,

May I get the answer for this question?

// It is said that science and religion do not have a common ground. I understood the reason to be realism and idealism as basis to those respectively and also confirmed the same in atheistic debates. With the science becoming independent of realism will there be common ground?//

So far from the replies I understood that for Science to function it need not necessarily subscribe to Realism. In view of this the answer to the above question would be appreciated. Let me know if my such understanding is flawed one.
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#23
(27-May-2013, 08:05 PM)ramesh Wrote: Dear Atheists,

May I get the answer for this question?

// It is said that science and religion do not have a common ground. I understood the reason to be realism and idealism as basis to those respectively and also confirmed the same in atheistic debates. With the science becoming independent of realism will there be common ground?//

So far from the replies I understood that for Science to function it need not necessarily subscribe to Realism. In view of this the answer to the above question would be appreciated. Let me know if my such understanding is flawed one.

Dear Thiest,

Before you ask the question on whether or not religion and science have any common ground you need to first show us that religion even has a ground to stand on.

You can show that by picking your favorite religious proposition (Eg. God created the world in six days, You will be reborn in a condition determined by your action in current life, or some other claim along those lines) and show that it is true by providing evidence for it.

As you go through this exercise you will become aware of the flaws in your understanding.

Hope this helps!
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#24
First things first. Ramesh, you ought to learn to not club things together. If "an" Atheist says something, it doesn't mean "all" atheists hold that view and it neither means Atheism rests on that foundation. It has been pointed out to you that "Atheism just means absence of belief in God". Now different atheists arrive at this from different perspectives.

Similarly what has been pointed out to you is that Science is defined by Scientific Method. Now why would somebody "subscribe" to Scientific Method might differ from person to person.

(27-May-2013, 08:05 PM)ramesh Wrote: // It is said that science and religion do not have a common ground. I understood the reason to be realism and idealism as basis to those respectively and also confirmed the same in atheistic debates. With the science becoming independent of realism will there be common ground?//

It was me who had argued with you on this topic. And you have misquoted the argument. Not all religion subscribe to Idealism. Advaitha Vedanta subscribes to Idealism. So firstly it was not "religion vs Science" it was "Advaitha Vedanta vs Science". And it most certainly had nothing to do with Atheism. And an atheist needn't rely on Science for her atheism.

Now I had argued then that Realism is a basic assumption in Science. I have revised that in this thread when I commented in my first comment "I used to think so but it seems that it is debatable". But as Arvind correctly pointed out, its an operational principle. Scientists do not like to multiply entities unnecessarily. So if a phenomenon can be explained without the need of invoking unnecessary entities (e.g. universal consciousness) then those entities are not used. This can be summarized by Laplace's famous reply to Napolean I had no need of that hypothesis

Now coming to the obvious agenda at hand, you might be tempted to claim "Oh so Vedanta is not incoherent with Science". And my reply would still be NO, it IS incoherent because it makes unfalsifiable claims about the universe, which are not entertained in Science. Additionally there is no remote empirical evidence for such claims (e.g. there was a empirical proof for prayers that work).

In anycase if you want to discuss about compatibility between Science and Vedanta, start a new thread. Do not discuss that in this thread which is just about Science and realism.
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