Sunday, July 30, 2017

I do not believe in empirical science, I only believe in apriori truth

Kurt Gödel on the left

The above was a quote from Kurt Godel, my favourite mathematical logician. Many people do not know about this man but his discovery of profound mathematical truth is more earth shattering than what was attributed to Einstein in the realm of physics. Besides, his life was not dogged by allegations of plagiarism unlike that of Einstein's special and general theory of relativity, in which some alleged he copied this without attribution from several physicists.

Gödel is known for his 1st and 2nd Incompleteness Theorem which has application to philosophy and theology.

Anyway, my point is the quote and why I too agree with Gödel.

Science relies on empirical and physical observations for its facts. In this regard, like other mathematicians, I do not believe mathematics is part of science. If at all I view it as part of philosophy. The second part of the quote, on apriori truth, is what is lacking in science. Here Gödel meant axioms. What are axioms? These are statements that are accepted to be obviously true. Its truth is established in the inherent nature of what language suggest. An example of an axiom is this - A or NOT A. Either A is true or NOT A is true. It cannot be both. This is obviously true.

I hate to break this but there are no axioms in Physics or in any branch of Science. The so called physical laws are formulated by observation but they are not universally established.

The strongest we can see in physics that comes close to an axiom is causality - Cause precedes the effect and never the reverse.

First, at best this is a philosophical principle we can agree, but at worst is the idea that the reverse cannot happen. In other words, this law does not allow for "if and only if" relationship. 

Let us illustrate, If Charles is a father, then he must have a child. But having a child by Charles by default, then Charles has become a father too. Here two things happened, and the cause became an effect as well. 

Because there are no axioms in the sciences, that is, there are no self-evident true statements, science is not stable. It cannot be your absolute source of truth, it cannot be the absolute arbiter of a situation. It cannot have the last say.

This is the reason why science keeps updating its pronouncements. Remember, the time when doctors said salt is bad for you, which again doctors saying, yes it is good etc. etc.

This is not to say that I will not use some of what science says, like take my medicines. What it does mean is that it cannot be your God, it can be your slave, but never your Divine Maker.

Often, when I see statements made by people hailing science and thus, scientism, I suspect the individual has no inkling how science and so called scientists work.


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