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Geschrieben von Ekkehard Friebe am 27.08.2008 um 11:25:

The Scientific Worldview

Hiermit m?chte ich auf ein sehr wichtiges Buch von Glenn Borchardt von 2007 hinweisen:

The Scientific Worldview - Beyond Newton and Einstein

Eine vergr??erte Ansicht des Buches zeigt folgende URL:

The Scientific Worldview presents a balanced theoretical perspective that has profound implications for the social and physical sciences. Author Glenn Borchardt outlines the philosophical alternatives and those necessary for consistent scientific thinking.

Nachstehend bringe ich die Einleitung zu diesem Buch:



The question of questions for mankind?the problem which underlies all others, and is more deeply interesting than any other?is the ascertainment of the place which Man occupies in nature and of his relations to the universe of things. Whence our race has come; what are the limits of our power over nature, and of nature's power over us; to what goal we are tending; are the problems which present themselves anew and with undiminished interest to every man born into the world.

-Thomas H. Huxley (1)

We are all scientists. Life presents us with one problem after another. Each day, we concern ourselves with cause and effect. Each day, we speculate about the reasons for the actions that surround us. We believe that certain actions produce certain effects. Whenever we depend on finding a relationship between cause and effect, we demonstrate belief in causality. To the extent that we believe that causes must be real, material aspects of the world, we profess the philosophy of determinism.

But there is an opposed philosophy, indeterminism, the belief that some effects may not have material causes. We are born indeterminists, knowing little of the causes of effects. It is only by interacting with the real world that we become determinists, in essence, applying the scientific method to all aspects of existence. As we grow, we discard ignorance based on superstition for knowledge based on experience. The process necessarily involves a perpetual conflict between these two ways of viewing the world; each person and each society professes a philosophy containing elements of both.

Once again, the time has come to examine determinism and indeterminism in a systematic way and to choose wisely between them. The compromises with indeterminism that scientists have concocted since the 19th century are getting stale?they are becoming an impediment to progress. Cosmologists have become cosmogonists, naively assuming and unabashedly promulgating the ancient idea that the universe itself had an origin, even though the creation of something from nothing is a religious assumption, not a scientific one. Physicists say that gravitation is due to the ?curvature? of ?spacetime?, but we have trouble imagining how either of these could be. Chemists claim that the universe is becoming more disordered each day, implying that it will eventually end in chaos. Most of our citizens are still enamored with occult beliefs ranging from the psychic to the astrological. From a strictly scientific perspective, our efforts to appease the religionists have borne strange fruit indeed.

To put science and philosophy back on track, I propose a reopening of the debate between science and religion, which I present here as the struggle between determinism and indeterminism. To be gained from this new rift is a better understanding of the necessarily elusive foundations upon which we build our thought and interpret the external world. To be gained is an improved, internally consistent, and scientific way of viewing the world. Any step in this direction would help us control the technology our culture has spawned.

Each new gadget usually comes with a set of instructions or "philosophy" for its use. It would seem that the modern, scientific world that we are building would require a scientific philosophy for its safe operation. Yet according to Victor Ferkiss, author of Technological Man, ?little evidence exists that any scientific world view is taking over the integrating function in our culture, or even that such a world view is commonly shared by those who call themselves scientists.? (2)

The reason for this state of affairs is that the Scientific Worldview is determinism, but the philosophy of our culture is overwhelmingly dominated by indeterminism. Despite its great achievements in research and engineering, the scientific enterprise remains too weak to defend itself against the pervasive power of indeterminism.

Science does not develop in a vacuum. It always reflects the culture from which it grows. That an indeterministic theory such as the "Big Bang" theory of the origin of the universe is taken seriously by most scientists, popularized by the media, and accepted by most of the public, provides a clear illustration of the reciprocal relationship between science and the philosophy of the culture. A change in one produces a change in the other.

Science advances, not just by efforts within the profession, but equally by the philosophical and practical advances made by all members of society. You are part of the environment in which science is performed. What you say and do helps to construct the science as well as the society in which you live. Regardless of your profession, your understanding of the Scientific Worldview will aid in scientific discovery.

While much of what represents science these days is little more than curious trivia, the Scientific Worldview is not. Indeed, when problems mount and stress increases, societies reexamine philosophy with a renewed fervor. First they turn to the familiar indeterministic ways, but because those ways do not, in the end, succeed for the great mass of humanity, they eventually look to the philosophy of determinism. When push comes to shove, when survival is at stake, the philosophy of indeterminism fails us. Prayers do not stop bullets.

Scientists survive professionally by determining cause and effect. They must be determinists, at least within their specialties, or else they cease to be scientists. If you believed that a certain effect had no material cause, then you would not be motivated to look for a cause. You would then cease being a scientist in that area of investigation.

Although scientists may be determinists within their necessarily narrow specialties, they receive little encouragement to be determinists outside them. For scientists to extend publicly the principle of causality to the point of universality they must risk being seen as foolhardy or arrogant. There is also little agreement on just what determinism is and in what way it could be said to be the exclusive basis for the Scientific Worldview. Those who should know, the experts on the philosophy of science, take care to avoid the label "determinist" lest they be banished from academe.

Discovering the nature of the Scientific Worldview is no easy task. It cannot be found by summing all scientific specialties, or by polling scientists and averaging the results. The Scientific Worldview, above all, must state its beginning assumptions clearly and from there attempt a coherent unification of the salient facts and a rigorous application of determinism to the world as a whole. It would not be in agreement with every interpretation advanced by every specialist. No explication of it would be accepted by all scientists.

Throughout history, the idea that the universe is governed strictly on deterministic principles reappears embellished with a style and with facts reflecting the culture it addresses. Each time, efforts are made to refute it. Eventually it is suppressed, only to return stronger than before. Humanity today appears to lie at the threshold of physical destruction. Its survival will not be a miracle, but a result of the deterministic actions we will take to forge a new unity among all peoples. The time is ripe for a renaissance of determinism.

Two other world views previously dominated scientific thought.

The first scientific world view, Newtonian mechanics, provided a general, mathematical construct, which despite its overwhelming success had a fatal flaw. It could never be completely successful because it was macrocosmic, that is, it overemphasized the outsides of things. Its preferred instrument was the telescope. For Newtonians, the universe was macrocosmically infinite, but microcosmically finite. Scientific theories based on the Newtonian world view tended to be macrocosmic and fatalistic. Darwin?s mechanism of evolution, for instance, became ?natural selection,? in which the environment dominated evolution and the organism was seen as relatively helpless in the survival of the fittest. Natural selection had little to say about why there was anything to select from in the first place.

The second scientific world view, systems theory, was a corrective reaction to Newtonian mechanics. Modern systems theory invariably errs on the microcosmic side; it overemphasizes the insides of things. It tends to stake out a portion of the universe in the effort to study it to the exclusion of all that surrounds it. Its preferred instrument is the microscope. For systems theory the universe may be microcosmically infinite, but macrocosmically finite. Scientific theories based on systems theory tend to be microcosmic and solipsistic. Modern astronomy, for instance, entertains the quintessential systems theory, the Big Bang, in which the universe itself is seen as a solitary system with nothing outside of itself. All it required was the acceptance of Einstein?s absurd assumption of a 4th dimension to satisfy those desperate to evade the infinite and all its philosophical implications.


Lesen Sie bitte weiter unter:

The Scientific Worldview: - Beyond Newton and Einstein

Beste Gr??e Ekkehard Friebe

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