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Friday, 26 September 2014

Two Ways to Look at Reality

Supernova explosion created in a laboratory


There are two basic ways to look at reality: scientific and non-scientific.

The scientific approach, or frame of mind, says: I’ll follow the investigation of reality wherever it takes me, even if I don’t like the results of this investigation; I’ll accept them nonetheless.

The non-scientific approach , or frame of mind, says: I have certain ideas, or convictions, which are dear to me (for whatever reason), and to me they are more important than the investigation of reality and its results; therefore, I will deny those results if they don’t fit in with my convictions.

Non-scientific people are, in politics, utopians, and in all fields are those who believe in superstitions, New Age types of theories, things like astrology, tarot reading, spiritualism and so on.

One thing needs to be added here. People allow themselves to believe all sorts of irrationalities (I don’t think that there exists any idea, however absurd, that has no believer), but only when these irrational notions do not touch something which has a direct connection with that person’s interests. There are exceptions, as usual, but this is the general rule.

Examples: people who say that they don’t believe in science still make use of all science’s applications like technology; people who say that they believe in out-of-body experiences take the car to go from point A to point B, they don’t use those out-of-body powers; people who believe in telepathy use the phone, rather than relying on their ESP powers: I could go on, but you got the idea.

In politics, we can see the non-scientific approach at work constantly. The Left and utopians in general are particularly prone to have it.

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The problem of this kind of people is that they mix and confuse two processes which should be kept separate and performed at different times, never together.

The two processes are: understanding reality (or trying to), and acting on reality.

If we want to act on reality, change it, we must first understand reality for what it is, not for what we would like it to be.

“Wishful thinking” is something generally condemned, but nonetheless indulged in continuously.

It is the way of thinking more typical of a child than an adult (magic and similar), and yet many adults have not really overgrown it.

The reason why those two processes should be kept well separate is obvious: if we let our desires, or our mental image of what reality should be, have an effect and interfere while we are still in the process of understanding what is, the resulting understanding of reality will be compromised, and cannot serve its purpose of guiding us in action later on, when we need it.

An example of this is the current attitude of the Left towards the questions of race and IQ. Many leftists wish to deny that there are genetic differences in IQ among human races, despite the overwhelming evidence in support of this; in fact, many leftists even try to deny the concept of race altogether.

And the funny thing about this is that these are the people who generally believe in the evolution theory and Neo-Darwinism, so they are in clear contradiction with themselves.

You can’t have it both ways: either there is a great scheme of things behind nature (a teleology), or there is none, and living beings are products of random processes. If you believe in the latter, you must accept that this randomness, this nature is not politically correct and may have produced human beings not in accordance with your pet theories.

I have even heard defences of that theory of genetic equality among races (that, in itself, is a contradiction in terms) that ran like: “Why should blacks have an average lower IQ than whites?”, bringing back teleology and grand design in the scientific discourse when it serves their purposes. There is no why.

Other people who should know better say: there is no connection between intelligence and skin colour.

There is no conceptual connection, but we are not talking about conceptual connection here. We are talking about genetic connection.

For example, taller humans have on average higher IQs than short humans. It is another case when, conceptually, one sees no association.

But the way genes act is by having chracteristics determined by the same gene (allele) which have no conceptual, or even functional, correlation with each other.

Here again: do you want the blind watchmaker or you don’t?

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