Part II: Explaining reason and
We are supposed to be living in a scientific world. However, a large
majority of people, while affected in their life by science and
technology, are still ignorant of some of the main
features of science.
Some features of science are widely known and/or can readily be
found explained at many places (you can make a search...). However,
I will present here some deeper aspects that are often ignored,
especially by naive people, so as to resolve a number of widespread
What is science, in short
Science is the activity of making the extended careful examination
that is needed to properly understand aspects of the world that do
not show themselves in a directly obvious manner.
Some of the main characters of science
Let us sum up some of the main principles of science, that is
the scientific approach to the truth and the search for the truth.
Accuracy : every concept
involved should be as clear and well-defined as possible. The role
of this criteria is to prevent risks for the reasoning to end up to
false conclusions. To say this in other words, we can see this as
the task of either being exact, or at least ensuring that the
approximations made (not always quantitative, but also
conceptual) will be small enough to not wrong
the conclusion, as far as we are expecting this
conclusion to be close to the truth on the issue being studied.
If the issue in question is naturally clear and simple, the risk of
wrong approximations may be low. However, on harder issues, it may
become a major problem, thus requiring a lot of work and
intelligence to be resolved. This may be because of the harder
complexity of the issue, and/or because the right concepts by which
a given aspect of reality would need to be analyzed for being
properly understood, are not given in advance, and still need to be
discovered, ifever it is indeed possible to discover any relevant
Logical Positivism : the truths that
science normally searches for, can be roughly split into 2 kinds
(though, in practice, many will be mixtures of them).
There are 3 main reasons why, beyond pure math, investigations of reality should focus on
such empirically meaningful questions:
- Those that come as necessary consequences of conceptual
accuracy. Namely, the ideal case of these, are the mathematical
theorems. More generally, it is the work of developing and
refining concepts, drawing the precise consequences and
connections between concepts, so as to bring conceptual tools
which make it possible to express and develop the other sort of
- Those that give information on possible perceptions from
the world, which we can observe. This is roughly the
principle of empiricism (to infer what will happen, as a
continuation of what already happened), but should be
distinguished from a naive form of empiricism, by the careful
details, accuracy, and conceptual depth in which it is
proceeded. Indeed, anyway, all the perception we can have from
the world (except possibly by introspection or supernatural
means; we shall discuss this issue later), is made of the
(extremely large) information transmitted to our mind from our
senses through our nerves. Therefore, the object of scientific
research and knowledge (outside pure mathematics) is to point
out clearly defined logical relations or probabilistic laws relating all
available or possible information (as either personally observed
or collectively recorded, like the one in a library). In other words,
to express, in the gigantic mathematical set
of all "arbitrary" series of perceptions (such as the set of all
28N possible files describing the series of
perceptions as N bytes of information), the distinction between those
most likely to be the ones we shall perceive, versus the
impossible or unlikely ones. More precisely, which theories
are best at minimizing the entropy
of observed data (more comments
in the first page here).
The conceptual reconstruction of reality : the means at our
disposal (our senses) do not give us any direct perception of
reality, but this sort of limitation is not a real limit to our
understanding of reality. On the contrary, the very scientific
research as we just specified (in terms of logical positivism),
provides for an effective understanding of reality, or at least, of
the aspects of reality that are of concern to us. This is operated
by the work of formulating the logical expressions relating our
perceptions (discovered as those which best distinguish the most
probable series of perceptions, from the impossible or most
unlikely ones), in their clearest, best understandable form. Indeed,
such a clearest understanding (expression) of these logical
structures requires to develop a number of key intermediate
concepts. And these key intermediate concepts are what plays
the role of the structures of reality as we can understand it.
They are the image (translation, approximation), which we can
form in our minds, of structures of reality which are outside it. As far
as the structures described by our best scientific theories are
mathematical ones, they exist in a mathematical sense as ensured
by the completeness
theorem, and since mathematical entities don't have any other nature
lost through isomorphisms, the abstract mathematical structures
produced by the application of the completeness theorem to our successful
scientific theories can be naturally seen as essentially identical to
structures of the real world. (Example: when looking at the Titan
pictures, there are many intermediate concepts involved in the
interpretation of this perception, representing different elements
- As a condition for a question to make sense: The "verificationist conception of meaning"
has been criticized by philosophers as caricatural, yet they were the real source of caricature by reading
it too strictly. Of course the presence or possibility of verification is not an exact appropriate definition
for "meaning", yet it is altogether a real form and a sufficient condition for meaning, and quite
often the only available evidence for meaning.
For any proposition which does not lead to a prediction on observables, the question of why to believe
that it still refers to a real object at all, can be worth serious consideration. Many people
have been trapped trying to debate seemingly meaningful questions actually without object.
So, we need to not waste time with concepts that someone may be tempted
to see as meaningful in their personal intuition while there
is no evidence of their meaningfulness as reflecting something
existing in reality, and no available way to investigate
whether they reflect something real or not. We just have no
time to waste in directions that may be senseless without any
means to find this out.
- As a condition for possibly checking the truth on a (meaningful) question: the art of guessing reality
without clear fact verification can be quite dangerous, leading to possible mistakes and unsolvable disputes.
But the full requirements to satisfy the purpose of disabling the persistence of erroneous beliefs
can be actually harder and more complicated. Starting from
the formulation of a statement logically recognized as giving some definite prediction, to the actual
comparison with facts, to the proper reports and analysis of those facts and then to the universal
recognition that the statement was indeed refuted by facts if that is the case, the path can be long and complicated
with diverse risks of psychological, sociological, information-technological obstacles on the way that might make this whole
process ineffective. To ensure this whole chain of refutation to work, an extensive care on the reliability of its diverse components
may be needed. In lack of such properly scientific methodologies, one needs
to remember that the persisting presence of many people believing a statement is finally no evidence for its truth.
- It is also often the condition for a statement to be valuable in terms of utilitarian ethics: being informative on
how things effectively happen in the world, which action leads to which consequence. It is precisely the
understanding of logical links or correlations between events that can be
used as a tool to deduce what needs to be done to change the world for the
: the way things behave, or the role they play, is not always a
matter of what their deep nature is, or whether things indeed have a
deeper nature or not. Indeed, consider a situation when something
would have an essence or deep nature of a deeper level than what is
being considered at a given step of understanding. Then, of two
things one: either this deeper nature has observable effects on the
behavior of this thing, in which case the observation of this
external behavior can provide information on this deeper nature, so
that, somehow, this deeper nature is observable (and the information
from these observations can provide us with a scientific
understanding of what it looks like, even if it is not a full
understanding). Or it does not (getting rid of its consideration
provides the best available approximations or predictions of its
behavior). In this case, such considerations of a deeper nature,
insofar as they could not help making more accurate expectations,
are irrelevant to the understanding of these things, as if they were
not an element of the reality of this world, but of another world
disconnected from this one.
In other words, the understanding of something, is mainly not a
matter of "what this thing is", but of how it behaves, what role it
plays, which way it connects to other things around.
Pragmatism : scientists must
adapt their research methods to the specific contexts of what
they want to study, for which the most effective research methods
are not always the same from a subject to another, because different
aspects of reality cannot always connect in the same way to our
means of investigation.
Also, naming some extensive list of guidelines for scientific
research, would usually be irrelevant: scientificity is not about
applying, even less just listing, an exact list of principles fixed
in advance (even the best ones), but about expertise on how to
properly deal with particular problems, developing and training a
more extensive form of commonsense relevant to the particular area
of reality they are investigating. This extended common sense
usually includes, but is not restricted to, a professional skill of
adequate interpretation and application of the general principles of
rationality here listed, on each particular problem. The work of the
scientist cannot be replaced by machines. Machines can help the
scientist by operating the repetitive application of some already
well-established principles, but the work of scientists will always
be necessary for providing a wider understanding of large conceptual
systems, and leading research projects. This ability is highly
dependent on the context of natural skills, personal training of
intelligence and known facts. Most scientists did not (or not much)
follow any course on the scientific method in the way philosophers
imagine, but spend much more effort, either studying mathematics
(proofs...) to train their thinking ability and gather some
mathematical concepts that may be useful to them later, or gathering
a wide range of specific information on their field of study.
For example, some fields of research have the possibility of
making experiments, for observations to be more extensive and
provide more complete information on the reality that is
considered; while this is not (or less) possible in other fields
like astronomy where stars and galaxies can only be observed and not
be subjects of any experiment.
For a more rigous version of the ideas of logical postivism, non-essentialism and
conceptual reconstruction of reality, see the Completeness
theorem with philosophical
comments on the foundations of maths, and my
text of metaphysics
Plato's cave, rationality levels, and non-essentialism issues.
Many people already heard about the
Allegory of the Cave, (as it is often taught in high school
philosophy classes). Let us recall it in short [quotation from
The story further explains how hard it is to try to free the
prisoners, who considered the shadows they saw to be the reality,
and first have a hard time adapting to the real things and getting
familiar to them.
"Socrates describes a group
of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of
their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows
projected on the wall by things passing in front of a fire
behind them, and begin to ascribe forms to these shadows.
According to Socrates, the shadows are as close as the
prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the
philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and
comes to understand that the shadows on the wall are not
constitutive of reality at all, as he can perceive the true
form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the
This allegory can be seen as an image of what science could finally
accomplish, the way it could go beyond immediate experience and
understand the deep structures underlying the things we can
see, through the understanding of many other concepts far away from
those naturally appearing and useful to everyday life.
Especially, Math and Physics are absolutely amazing, in how far deep
they could reach in their respective domains of study.
Unfortunately, and just as this allegory says, most of these
subjects, and how wonderful they are, cannot be easily explained to
the lay people.
Another solution, instead of trying to free someone from his chains,
is to try to show him an image of the real things by projecting
their shadow on the wall he can see. This is the work of science
popularization: not a real presentation of things as they can really
be understood, but sorts of metaphors roughly explaining how they
look like in a way or another.
Some people in search of truth, when looking at these shadows of
science that science popularization is, may complain that these
shadows are not clear, will find inconsistencies there, and will
want to criticize these images as not satisfying, not being the
ultimate explanations. Somehow they are right that these shadows are
not the ultimate explanation, but when complaining so, they are
missing the fact that these popularized presentation are not the
full account of the currently established scientific understanding
either. Another usual wrong complaint is to make the mistake of
essentialism (failing to understand the justification for the
non-essentialism of science that we explained above). These
misunderstandings can lead to dramatic consequences where some
people may come to dedicate their life to trying to put forward
alternative views in opposition to established science. This issue
will be further developed later.
However, there is no absolute separation between teaching and
popularization (between getting freed to understand the depth of
things, or only seeing their shadow). No absolute separation, but
still a difference (distance) between them, that can eventually be
How can this be, you may ask, while all scientific understanding is
operated by the same fundamental kind of rational ability of the
human mind in its ordinary state, the same which is operated by lay
people and lead them to so many mistakes ?
First, we can note that it does not matter how surprising or
illogical this may sound: anyway it is a fact, so that denying it
just based on its oddness, would lead nowhere.
Then, it can be understood as a non-essentialist truth: it does not
matter what science is made of; what matters is the role it plays.
The role played by science cannot be properly reduced to the
question of what it is made of. It is the same kind of people in
themselves, that can as well be prisoners only looking at shadows on
the wall, or going out from the cave. Science plays the role of
a way out of the cave, and this is all the best that ought to be
expected from a vision of the truth on the world we live in.
So, how can it be, and what does its difference from the basic
use of reason consist of ?
One of the main answers, is that it is a matter of complexity.
Ordinary reason is enough to correctly solve simple problems of
everyday life with sufficient accuracy or reliability for practical
purposes, but it fails when faced with more complex or faraway
problems, where the conceptual approximations made by an ordinary
mind are not right, and inaccuracies are either too big or too
numerous, so that they happen to add up into major mistakes in the
conclusions. Also, some necessary key concepts for the understanding
of some issues, may be completely missed by people who are not
familiar with them. Some key concepts require a lot of work to be
learned, going through a lot of preliminaries.
So, here again, the very concept of rationality needs to be
understood in a non-essentialist sense: it makes no sense to qualify
a person as either rational or irrational in the absolute, but only
as a description of the role
played by this mind relatively to the purpose of
understanding a given problem or domain of reality.
The same person can happen to be rational towards some issues, and
irrational towards other issues.
We previously saw another example how something's behavior can be
very dissimilar with its deep nature: the case of spirituality with
its essentialist conception of altruism, understood as an intrinsic
quality of a person. Spiritual people are missing the fact that, in
order to be really useful to others (rather than keeping one's
altruism for oneself and then down to the grave), a real effective
altruism needs to be understood as an extrinsic quality, made of the
effective ways in which someone interacts with the rest of the
world, and what consequences on others these actions finally
Let us give some more details on the non-essentialism of science,
with the case of how it goes for physics.
There is are a diversity of sciences which study different aspects
of reality. This is possible as these different aspects of reality
can be considered and understood more or less independently from
each other (each can be somehow neglected in the study of others),
even though they are aspects of the same global reality, and
therefore also have connections between them. Physics is one of
them; but it is itself divided into several theories describing each
a different aspect of the physical universe. These theories can be
understood more or less independently from each other.
Among these theories, some describe deeper aspects of reality (a
deeper essence of things) than others.
For example, quantum physics is deeper than classical physics and
chemistry, as it provides a common foundation explaining both and
how they can both describe aspects of the same reality. General
relativity is deeper than Newton's law of gravitation. So, if we
want to approach the understanding of the (relatively more) ultimate
nature of the physical universe, then the deeper theories are those
we should focus on. But if we want to understand some specific
phenomena of concern to us, it often happens for less deep
theories to be much more relevant, because they provide useful
approximations that greatly simplify the problems and provide more
direct and understandable solutions.
For example, the mass of the proton has been at last computed
to a reasonable approximation, out of the known more fundamental
laws (which had been understood well before already), by a
supercomputer in year 2008. This hardness to obtain such a
basic result as the mass of the proton out of the known more
fundamental laws that determine it, suggests how desperate
it may be to pretend that the understanding of any significant
practical aspect of reality, should be best obtained by deducing it
from any supposedly most ultimate first principles.
So, the point of the scientific approach is not to be for or against
the research of more fundamental principles underlying given
phenomena to better understand them: indeed, such a research of more
fundamental principles has been successfully proceeded many times by
science much better than by any other philosophy.
But it is about carefully adapting the orientation of the research
on any subject, either towards deeper explanations or not, depending
on what happens to be fruitful for the wanted purpose.
As a result of this non-essentialism, it is often said that science
rejected metaphysics. In a way this is true, however it is not the
whole story. What is true is that scientists rejected most of the
works that philosophers had done on the issue, either because it was
fuzzy (and generally irrational : we shall explain in further
details what is irrationality), or because it was irrelevant to
their work (because of the non-essentialism of science vs. the
traditional essentialism of metaphysics). But this does not mean
science would have no access to any metaphysical truth. The problem
is that, usually, scientists focus on scientific truths, that is,
accurate and verifiable truths, rather than fuzzy truths, so that
they don't want to "waste their time" discussing on fuzzy ideas and
explaining things in fuzzy terms. The result is that they kept their
knowledge for themselves and hardly ever cared properly explaining
it to philosophers and/or to the public. Also, as they are at ease
with complex ideas, they don't see the point to try explaining them
in simpler terms.
Science is knowledge, as opposed to faith
Another way to characterize science, is to define it as knowledge.
And, there are two opposites of knowledge, which are faith and
But, this definition requires a clarification, to not mistake the
meaning the word "faith" here, with some other meanings often given
by religions. Indeed, religions usually define "faith" to mean
either hope, trust in God, belief in afterlife, adhesion to some
specific doctrine, or any mixture between these.
Here, for this definition of science, the involved meanings of the
knowledge = justified belief = clarified belief
faith = unjustified belief = unclarified belief
Indeed, the very concept of unjustified belief is more or less based
on its lack of clarification. This is because a belief normally
consists in holding a claim as justified.
If someone fully understood the fact that his belief is not
justified (including with his personal, unsharable experience), then
this understanding "should" drive him to stop doing as if it was
justified, thus stop believing in the claim and start considering it
as a mere hypothesis waiting for future evidence for or against it
In other words, scientific inquiry can be described as being neither
satisfied with an absence of belief (ignorance) nor with a presence
of unclarified belief, but only with a work of examination of things
which may lead to clarified beliefs. This may require to review a
number of hypothesis without believing them at first, until,
eventually, some may turn out to be justified.
This does not mean that a scientist has no faith or philosophy of
life (indeed, there are too many issues in life, and it is not
humanly possible to carefully check every belief that one needs to
follow). But this means that the scientific work is a work that must
care to be unaffected by one's possible faiths. This can be done
because the scientific work is a specialized work, dealing every
time with a precise question that can be solved independently from
the rest of ideas that cannot be clarified yet.
Precisely, the point is not always to ensure that some given
conclusion is free of assumption, but the point is to clarify
which are the assumptions that a conclusion is based on. So, if a
conclusion B depends on an assumption A while A is not well-proven
yet, then the "real conclusion" of the work is that (A => B).
This makes it possible for other researchers, to either know
that B is true in the case they first knew that A is true based
on other justifications, or ignore the work as pointless (without
"disagreeing with it") if they consider A to be false or unlikely.
Such a work of clarifying all the assumptions that a conclusion
depends on (while only neglecting the mention of the assumptions
that can't be subject to a "reasonable doubt"), can be a very hard
work where mistakes may happen. But well, this is precisely why
science is often a work to be reserved to professionals (another
reason is the fact that each work may require many premises for
drawing a conclusion, and only professionals may be familiar with
the available body of knowledge which can supply for needed
premises, and thus orient the kind of work that may be relevant).
There is not, or at least there should not be, such a thing as a
"faith in reason".
Reason is the ability and efficiency of work towards a distinction
of which belief is justified and which is not, as well as to develop
works that have more chances to reach the point of providing clear,
Whenever it succeeds to provide clear evidence for something, there
is no point anymore to see there any "faith in reason", because it
no more depends on any faith, but it presents full justifications
for the conclusions. Of course, it depends on the assumption that
one is not foolish enough to mistakenly see clear evidences where
there would be none; but well, there has to be some limits to such a
thing as Descartes' thought experiment of an "hyperbolic doubt",
which leads nowhere (imagine if you started to doubt your ability to
check how much is 2+2).
What about the time when a question has not been solved yet ?
Indeed we can see a faith in the motivation to do the research:
a hope, a belief, not yet fully justified, in the idea that the
scientific search has a chance to succeed, that some verified
knowledge can be obtained on the considered subject. This belief is
not yet justified, because, well indeed, by definition of a
discovery, it cannot be predicted. So, it is not always a knowledge,
but it may also be a personal creed, which humanly stimulates the
process of scientific research, but must not be mistaken as an axiom
that could serve by itself to justify any claim in the scientific
This can better be understood by presenting it the other way round:
the opposite belief, claiming that the scientific research for a
justified understanding on some specific issue would be hopeless, is
usually not justified either.
Of course, there are exceptions: some knowledge could be obtained
showing the (either absolute or most probable) impossibility to
resolve some problems. It is for example absolutely impossibile to:
Other expectations of knowledge can be unreasonable too, such
- find an algebraic solution to the generic 5th degree equation
or to the 3-body problem of Newtonian mechanics;
- (according to Gödel's incompleteness theorem) prove or
disprove the Gödel's arithmetical formula of a given axiomatic
system (expressing "this claim is not provable") inside the
formalism of the same system;
- Prove or disprove the Continuum hypothesis in the ZF set
- travel or transfer information faster than the speed of light
c through technological
But, after all, we can now accept as empirically justified, the
claim that reason is very powerful to discover many things in our
universe, because we could observe and verify its success during the
last centuries, and there is no reason to believe that this progress
would suddenly stop now.
- knowing the lost contents of the famous destroyed Biblioteca
- giving significantly more reliable predictions of the output
of quantum randomness devices than the probability predictions
of quantum theory; in practice: predicting the winning number of
- detecting traces of life from the Andromeda galaxy during the
In fact, the character of logical positivism (describing the
information on our perceptions), is very often the essential
criteria (principle) after which to clarify whether a question,
claim or theory is decidable by reason (or at least subject to
scientific inquiry and possible progress of knowledge), and
also whether it is of any importance (indeed this "frequent or
approximate equivalence" between logical positivism, verifiability
and effective importance, is itself a logical remark).
More empirical and other reliable justifications can be found (we
shall present some in Part III), of some claims (and attitudes
of many scientists) on the respective statuses of science and
religion, and what an awful source of mistakes the religions most
famous in the West often turn out to be.
Still, there are some unfortunate remaining forms of faith in
the rationalist attitude of some scientists (which fortunately are
not actually mistaken with scientific knowledge... at least not too
much). Most of this can be understood as a reaction against
religious claims (once observed how wrong on so many other issues,
are the religions and other propagandists making such opposite
- The faith in the possibility to unify the known laws of
physics (general relativity + quantum physics with the
standard model + dark matter + dark energy...), finding out the
right quantum "theory of everything" (TOE) during the next few
decades, and/or that it would indeed be the ultimate knowledge
of fundamental importance for mankind, solving the main
philosophical problems. Well, this can be fine as a personal
motivation for research, and be motivated by the real wonderful
successes of fundamental physics up to the 1970's, but
considering how far are our particle accelerators from reaching
the Planck energy, and the huge difficulties of making any
testable predictions from candidate unification theories, this
does not look like the most reliable creed on Earth... (I
personally have no opinion on this question in the long term).
- The faith in ontological materialism (that there would be no
truly paranormal phenomena, that the mind would be a material
phenomenon emerging from biological processes obeying the known
laws of physics), or, as it is likely equivalent to based on the
existing knowledge in physics (we shall explain in Part III),
the faith that the quantum measurement issues would not be the
place for the mind-matter interaction: that these paradoxes
would be "not a problem" to materialism (accepting, for example,
the Everett's many-worlds interpretation as a solution), or that
the future theory of everything can solve them by replacing the
quantum randomness by some determination (this is not the
project of current candidate TOE, which remain quantum theories
preserving the measurement randomness and paradoxes as such).
- Opinions that "God is dead" as if the public opinion had to
obey to the last famous writer's argument...
Several parts of this texts have been moved to separate
Some quotations on MBTI personality
On the nature of irrationality,
and generalities about pseudo-science
An example I have worked on:
Nottale's Scale Relativity "theory"
Criticism of the academic
List of false or low quality sciences
Let us now review a number of disciplines (communities of people
with some sort of peer recognition) claiming to study a field of
knowledge (focusing on matters of truth - unlike arts which are
explicitly more a matter of taste than of truth), and assess their
scientific value according to the previously explained criteria.
this section was moved to a separate page.
Economical and political sciences emerged out of philosophy, and
made some way towards scientificity by taking some inspiration from
mathematics and other applied sciences. They are not as flawed as
philosophy, but still keep some of its flaws. For example, they keep
fuzzy logic, can't work accurately enough to converge to the truth,
as can be seen by their long-standing diversities of views on each
subject. This is partly understandable as a difficulty, as its
object depends on fuzzy human elements and irreducible complexities,
so that the reductionist approaches of mathematics and physics
cannot apply so well. However this is not a sufficient
justification, since another scientific field (biology and the
theory of evolution) could do a better job in spite of comparable
Among people aware of the presence of large flaws in economical
sciences, some analyze them as due to giving too much importance to
mathematics (and mathematical modeling). However, people coming from
exact sciences (pure or applied mathematics, physics) and having a
look at the mathematical modelling used in economics, would observe
that the problem with economics is not about doing too much
mathematics, but about misunderstanding mathematics.
Indeed, mathematics does not just consist in writing and solving
equations. Instead, true mathematics is a way of thinking. It is the
skill of thinking logically and accurately, in an elaborate way in
coherence with the context, so as to ensure the reliability of the
approximations made. Mathematical concepts, and other concepts
developed by a mathematical way of thinking, can be expressed as
well in formulas or in ordinary language, depending on subjects or
convenience; while illogical nonsense can be written in the language
of formulas just the same.
The art of finding out good approximations and relevant
modelizations, is omnipresent in physics and other sciences; and the
art of modelization itself, in the sense of developing concepts,
diversifying and selecting relevant viewpoints on a given subject,
is present in pure mathematics too.
Another scientific tool often used in hard sciences which did not
enter the culture of economists, is computer simulations.
Example of an article presenting the current flaws of economics:
Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics
(More references would be welcome; already the Wikipedia article on
presents some criticism too).
Other important examples of the domination of nonsense in academic
economics, have been the heavy presence of Marxism as well as
Keynesianism, despite their lack of logical coherence. The disasters
from Marxism are well-known. But Keynesianism also has a share
of responsibility in nonsense politics too, by the misunderstanding
it induced about the long "crisis" from 1973 to now (reduced growth
and worsening unemployment without inflation), leading to a
repetition of the fiscal and monetary measures (increased spendings)
that worked to end the "overproduction" crisis of the 1930's (which
can be analyzed as a monetary crisis) but cannot work now that the
problem is different, and even worsens the situation : harming
growth and running into more disasters (states going bankrupt) which
can't be solved anymore.
How desperating it can have been for example in France during the
1980's, for someone who thinks logically, to hear on TV as
well as by high school economics teachers, as if it
was undeniably the only rational view, the perpetual repetition
of the same nonsense, that overspending (by states as well as
by people) would be the best solution to every problem and for
social justice, while austerity would be the worst evil of the world
that only big bad wolves (capitalists) might support for obscure
As with philosophy, the obligations to swallow tons of absurd
theories for anyone who would consider officially studying
economics, also contributed to turn away from the subject most
skilled thinkers that could have corrected it. Sure, the rationality
level there is better than in philosophy, but most of the really
good thinkers rather go to hard sciences rather than economics.
Note also how usually unquestioned are the basic features of the
"infrastructures" in terms of which democracy, national states,
currencies, administrations and policies are defined.
The omnipresence of technologies and other remarkable efficiencies
of science to change many things in our daily life (in contrast with
the vanity of religion) as well as the presence of an economical
science full of mathematical tools, has given many people the false
impression that science somehow dominates the world, despite its
much smaller number of effective members (scientists) than
In reality, science has never been in power. It cannot do what
nobody wants it to do. Scientists never received the mandate to
rethink and reorganize our political and economic systems so as to
more truly serve the general interest. Our core political
structures, as well as the root of decision
(some political class vaguely representing a rather
irrational population through rudimentary voting processes) hardly
has anything to do with the well-designed kind of sophistication
such as science would know to develop.
People always decided that scientists should exclusively work at the
service of this unquestioned "liberal" or "democratic" system, to
provide technologies to do what consumers individually like, and
what our institutions want them to do. These institutions are rather
a conventional construction that emerged long ago and
were preserved by inertia or slowly evolved for easy
corrections and adaptation for the purpose of growing and keeping
their power, in a world where most people have a passive mind. The
only choice scientists had, was between serving these institutions
or staying jobless and excluded from society.
Then, how can anyone hold science responsible for the flawed
decisions (individually useful but collectively irresponsible or
under control by specific interest groups) made by a system of
businesses and institutions that decides everything and hires
scientists, but that scientists cannot control in return (and most
of them don't even care as they are just satisfied to build
their ivory tower in a small corner there) ?
We shall review in Part IV some of the main economic concepts and
features (either already known or not yet) that need to be
understood, and new scientific tools to develop, for mankind to
better solve its current (old or new) and upcoming problems.
Medicine and Psychiatry
Medicine benefited greatly of the development of biological
sciences, but suffers the influence of the pharmaceutical industry's
financial interests, that distorts the research results towards the
highest possible social expenses it can take profit from; and there
are so many substances and questions requiring lots of specific
observations, that it is sometimes hard to check the truth on
every question - and with laws set up by industrial lobbies, none
else than this industry can "follow the procedures" to get the right
to sell its products (no matter how far from a fair game of truth
seeking are these procedures). While these aberrations are hardly a
secret in general, this lobby's strong influence on political
decisions makes it rather hopeless to try restoring a sane rational
environment for the development of medicine as a science in the
Also the relation with alternative medicine is not clear. Of course,
a lot of caution is necessary in general as many charlatans prosper,
but it is a pity to miss the tools to help select the possibly
useful practices and practitioners. The lack of research in
some methods may be due to the fact they do not sell any expensive
chemicals, and therefore are not in the industry's interests.
For example, the effects of acupuncture are
The situation is particularly disastrous in the field of psychiatry.
While some serious research in psychiatry can exist, and some
patients may indeed find help (healing some cases of depression or
other troubles) in psychiatric treatments, much of the psychiatric
practice fails to be scientific - and rather behaves as a
totalitarian system instead.
Indeed, psychiatry is not falsifiable, with its easy game of
interpreting any patient's disagreements with its diagnosis, as
pathological (or sometimes, as a mere scientologist propaganda).
This loophole (a general exaggerated belief in people's foolishness,
that opens the door to unfalsifiable fanciful ideas) is more or less
the same with psychiatry as with psychoanalysis.
Another example of an anti-scientific character of psychiatrists, is
how fast, in a few minutes, they can make definitive judgements
about whether their patient's views are justified or not. In the
rest of science, it may take hours, years or decades of work by many
scientists to debate a difficult question. Even many ordinary people
can be lucid enough to not judge other people's life without taking
some time to discuss and try to understand, or to acknowledge that
they don't know. Psychiatrists, on the other hand, and just like
religious fundamentalists, won't make any effort to try to
understand anything in their patients' lives beyond how it sounds to
them in a few minutes, but will give unlimited trust to their own
arbitrary, definitive judgement without any discussion (that is,
immediately dismissing as pathological any opinion different from
movements have shown, psychiatric institutional
systems are naturally oriented (as a necessary means for their own
preservation and promotion) to see fools everywhere and to heal
none. Rather, they destroy through poison, many lives that would
otherwise not have been so bad.
Some people would dismiss criticism by putting forward some cases of
people who really benefited from psychiatric treatment. Another
argument pushed on someone who had a bad experience suffering from a
absurd treatment from mad psychiatrists who make nonsense diagnosis
(mistaking, for example, any original thoughts away from
political correctness, as madness, and ordering devastating
pills for someone who was in fact sane, or anyway whose problem had
nothing to do with what is assumed), is to justify this madness by :
In fact, this "logic" as well as many other details of how many
psychiatrists think and behave, is but an expression of total
madness and absence of common sense.
- claiming that anyway the patient is free and responsible for
having freely accepted the devastating treatment ordered by the
psychiatrist (no matter the formal obligations of obedience
could be set up by a brainless administration; and how the
psychiatrist lied to the patient in the, refusing to
discuss the diagnosis with the patient's agreement, nor telling
the truth about the effects; assuming, disregarding any other
assessment of the patient's intelligence or rationality than the
psychiatrist's intimate conviction, that the patient would be
too mad to understand his problem, supposedly making it
necessary to tell any lies to make him accept the needed
treatment; thus decidedly letting the patient no chance of an
- that if a psychiatrist takes wrong decisions, the patient just
need to search for another one, because, as is assumed, there
must exist good ones - disregarding that this is but a way to
condemn the patient to have his health damaged again and again
by further mad psychiatrists, because there is no available
direct means to know which psychiatrist would be sane.
Indeed, it would be a matter of common sense to realize that the
claims of existence of people who benefited psychiatry, or existence
of psychiatrist that made good orderings, should never been
acceptable as a sufficient reason to "advise" depressed people to
visit one and to follow treatments, because:
What if happy patients with a positive experience, were taking the
responsibility for their testimony and advice for others to visit
psychiatrists, by providing financial insurance from their personal
funds, to give reparation to anyone that their advise would harm ?
Such an insurance economy would help restoring justice, as well as
comparing the harm with the benefits of psychiatry, and finding out
which weights more.
- It is too easy to claim to a weakened person (weakened by
depression), that he should follow any advice or treatment by
official "experts". The problem is: who will be responsible if
it turns out to be just nonsense with devastating effects ? Will
the patient be held fully responsible for the harm done to his
mental health ? According to the laws currently in force, nobody
but the patient is responsible for whatever damage made to his
mental health (which can be compared to a form of rape), no
matter how mad the psychiatrist's behavior (wrong diagnosis...)
turned out to be, while the psychiatrist will keep his job and
go on harming the lives of hundreds of other people without ever
receiving any feedback from the disaster he is creating. This is
infalsifiability, total disconnection from the truth.
- The (abstract and general) claim of existence of wise,
reliable psychiatrists, no matter how true, remains meaningless
as long as no nominative list is ever given of who they are.
Only a work of setting up such a list would give this claim a
sense. Because anyone who would claim that such exist, so as to
lead people in need to go and take treatment, must be held fully
responsible in case of any harm that would result from it. To
give people a chance to not have their life destroyed by the
claim of existence of good psychiatrists that would lead them to
visit mad ones, a nominative list is required. This should be
set up as a falsifiable claim, that is: if ever a psychiatrist
in the "list of good ones" turned out to be bad, first things
should be made easy for the victim to have his voice heard and
recognized with no requirement of judicial-like hassles that the
victim cannot financial and mentally afford to undertake;
second, once this event recognized, the whole list it is taken
from, and the claim of existence of wise psychiatrists, should
be officially discarded altogether.
I know that many politically correct people would discard such
requirements as foolish, unrealistic or uncivilized.
But those who would discard such requirements are the mad ones.
There could be no possible civilization without a form of law or
practical means forcing people to take the full and real
responsibility for what they claim expertise in. There would be no
possible civilization if hungry people were routinely invited to
restaurants, some of whom serve good food while many others
routinely serve deadly poison, with no available means to make
the difference or to complain afterwards.
In the present world, it turns out that even the right of speech
inside hospitals, by patients who suffered wrong treatments, is
This is but a character of totalitarian systems. In fact, it is
known that psychiatrists were happy under the Nazi and soviet
regimes, to get any political prisoner to make experiments on; and
this is a general intrinsic character of the psychiatric methods and
mentality rather than a specific accident from the dominating
political ideologies of the respective places and times, as this
blind and barbarian behavior can still be observed in our present
Western "civilization" just the same : today's behavior of
psychiatrists is a result of a perverse training of psychiatrists
oriented by misinformation from pharmaceutical industries into
barbarian behavior, only hidden under a "soft appearance" (many
psychiatrists can't just treat their patients like animals by force
but they still think the same and try to do it by other means
In a sane and civilized world, it should be a matter of common sense
that even a psychiatrist that would be "wise" with his own patients,
not harming their lives, should rather be stopped as a fool and
condemned as a criminal whenever he would tolerate the testimonies
of his wise actions by his own patients, to serve as an argument to
lead by "nice advice" some other unfortunate depressed people
to follow damaging treatments of his unwise colleagues.
There are currently laws against defamation, that forbid any public
accusation of some sorts against someone, no matter how true such
accusation may be (without unrealistic obligations of judicial
procedures, unaffordable lawyer expenses and so on, and that have no
decent chance for the truth to be officially recognized anyway).
But precisely, this anti-defamation law lets no reasonable chance
for any positive quality of a wise and reliable person, to be
known and trusted either by contrast.
See my big list of links against
This section was
moved to a separate page.
But, while a good form of skepticism is part of rationality, we
cannot reduce rationality to it.
Genuinely rational skepticism insists on either rejecting or
avoiding judgement for claims or phenomena where no evidence is
present yet. While it is indeed necessary to not pretend to know
something that cannot be checked, and we have no "right" to
systematically demand or pretend having all the needed evidence for
the truth on all questions we "need to know", this is not a
satisfactory end of the story.
And, just as science's acknowledgement of its incompleteness did not
prevent it from discovering a very good deal of
knowledge, there are indeed many answers readily available to
reason about the sense of life, which shall be presented in the next
Part I - Part II - Part
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