Part II: Explaining reason and science

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 misunderstandings.

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 concepts.

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).
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 elements of reality as we can understand it. They are the image (translation, approximation), which we can form in our minds, of elements of reality which are outside it. (Example: when looking at the Titan pictures, there are many intermediate concepts involved in the interpretation of this perception, representing different elements of reality).

Non-essentialism : 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 an exact list of principles fixed in advance, but about developing and training a more extensive form of commonsense. 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.

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 Wikipedia]

"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 prisoners."

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.

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 very big.
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 produce.

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 ignorance.
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 words are:
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 later.
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, justified knowledge.
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 reasoning itself.

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 as
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.

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 claims):


Several parts of this texts have been moved to separate pages:

A section on metamathematics,

Some quotations on MBTI personality types.


On the nature of irrationality, and generalities about pseudo-science

An example I have worked on:

About Nottale's Scale Relativity "theory"


Criticism of the academic institutions

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.

Philosophy

It had its time of glory in the past. In ancient Greece, philosophy was not yet distinguished from the science of that time, thus we might say both were comparable in quality. Then they faced many centuries of near-absence during the dark ages of Christian domination, before resurrecting together and having their glory period in the time of Enlightenment.
Enlightenment philosophy signed its good new insights of truth, by some valuable practical accomplishments (usefulness for mankind, that can be compared with the technical usefulness of science):
However, the situation is now very different, as science made a tremendous lot of progress since that time, leaving philosophy far behind. Philosophy didn't make any comparable progress of methods or knowledge, and thus became a sterile discipline.

Some attempts of reform to remodel philosophy after science have been made, such as the development of analytic philosophy by Bertrand Russel who also contributed to the new foundations of mathematics (set theory). It may be acknowledged that analytic philosophy is a bit less irrational than continental philosophy.
But, apart from a few interesting clues such as his celestial teapot and other remarks on religion, much of the length of Russel's philosophy (such as his theory of the mind) remained of poor value (long developments on pointless details that cannot contribute to the progress of knowledge in any effective way).

For example, after the good fruits of democracy produced by the Enlightenment philosophy, what further political revolution did philosophy bring to mankind ? Well, it brought the Marxist revolution.
Despite its claims, Marxism is not rational. Most philosophers did not notice the problem, and thus welcomed Marxism in their field. Only Karl Popper developed famous writings showing the discrepancy between Marxism and science, by observing the difference between the Marxist and the scientific way of testing a theory against experience (falsifiability), for example the way Einstein's general relativity made precise predictions to be tested.

Despite this, the community of so-called "intellectuals" (of humanities, not scientists) kept holding Marxism as a rational theory and valid philosophy. Of course if you measure a philosophy by its convincing power to the masses, then, Marxism is among the best, just in the same way religions previously were. In fact Marxism is itself a modern religion exploiting the newly fashionable claim of scientificity. But the success of a convincing power to the people (even to be taken as "scientific" by an unscientific class of self-proclaimed "intellectuals") hardly has anything to do with truth and rationality. 
Now you don't need anymore to study and examine it in much details to find evidence for its lack of rationality: just look at its fruits (the Soviet Union). The combination of its convincing power with its utter falsity, just means it is at the antipodes of reason: it is powerfully misleading. We shall discuss this more closely in Part IV.

The irrational character of philosophy, can be inferred from its inability to naturally converge to a consensus on given questions: many philosophers keep presenting opposite views on fixed issues, that remain unresolved for a very long time.

Paul Graham's criticism of philosophy
"When things are hard to understand, people who suspect they're nonsense generally keep quiet. There's no way to prove a text is meaningless. The closest you can get is to show that the official judges of some class of texts can't distinguish them from placebos.
And so instead of denouncing philosophy, most people who suspected it was a waste of time just studied other things. That alone is fairly damning evidence, considering philosophy's claims. It's supposed to be about the ultimate truths. Surely all smart people would be interested in it, if it delivered on that promise.
Because philosophy's flaws turned away the sort of people who might have corrected them, they tended to be self-perpetuating. "
(and many other arguments worth reading too)

Richard Feynman (physics Nobel laureate) made harsh criticisms of philosophy:

"After some discussion as to what "essential object" meant, the professor leading the seminar said (...) "Mr. Feynman, would you say an electron is an 'essential object'?"(...). So I began by asking, "Is a brick an essential object?"
Then the answers came out. One man stood up and said, "A brick as an individual, specific brick. That is what Whitehead means by an essential object."
Another man said, "No, it isn't the individual brick that is an essential object; it's the general character that all bricks have in common - their 'brickiness' - that is the essential object."
Another guy got up and said, "No, it's not in the bricks themselves. 'Essential object' means the idea in the mind that you get when you think of bricks."
Another guy got up, and another, and I tell you I have never heard such ingenious different ways of looking at a brick before. And, just like it should in all stories about philosophers, it ended up in complete chaos."

"philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds"
(forgetting that, in fact, ornithology has been useful to birds in some ways...)

People say to me, “Are you looking for the ultimate laws of physics?” No, I’m not… If it turns out there is a simple ultimate law which explains everything, so be it — that would be very nice to discover. If it turns out it’s like an onion with millions of layers… then that’s the way it is. But either way there’s Nature and she’s going to come out the way She is. So therefore when we go to investigate we shouldn’t predecide what it is we’re looking for only to find out more about it. Now you ask: “Why do you try to find out more about it?” If you began your investigation to get an answer to some deep philosophical question, you may be wrong. It may be that you can’t get an answer to that particular question just by finding out more about the character of Nature. But that’s not my interest in science; my interest in science is to simply find out about the world and the more I find out the better it is, I like to find out…
(The Pleasure of Finding Things Out p. 23)

From this Feynman's text on science:

"...what science is, is not what the philosophers have said it is, and certainly not what the teacher editions say it is. What it is, is a problem which I set for myself after I said I would give this talk.
After some time, I was reminded of a little poem:
A centipede was happy quite, until a toad in fun
Said, "Pray, which leg comes after which?"
This raised his doubts to such a pitch
He fell distracted in the ditch
Not knowing how to run.
All my life, I have been doing science and known what it was, but what I have come to tell you--which foot comes after which--I am unable to do, and furthermore, I am worried by the analogy in the
poem that when I go home I will no longer be able to do any research."

From this Feynman's interview:

"Philosophers, incidentally, say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive and probably wrong. . . 
My son is taking a course in philosophy, and last night we were looking at something by Spinoza--and there was the most childish reasoning! There were all these Attributes and Substances, all this meaningless chewing around, and we started to laugh. Now, how could we do that? Here's this great Dutch philosopher, and we're laughing at him. It's because there was no excuse for it! In that same period there was Newton, there was Harvey studying the circulation of the blood, there were people with methods of analysis by which progress was being made! You can take every one of Spinoza's propositions and take the contrary propositions and look at the world--and you can't tell which is right. Sure, people were awed because he had the courage to take on these great questions, but it doesn't do any good to have the courage if you can't get anywhere with the question. 
It isn't the philosophy that gets me, it's the pomposity. If they'd just laugh at themselves! If they'd just say, "I think it's like this, but Von Leipzig thought it was like that, and he had a good shot at it too." If they'd explain that this is their best guess.... But so few of them do; instead, they seize on the possibility that there may not be any ultimate fundamental particle and say that you should stop work and ponder with great profundity. "You haven't thought deeply enough; first let me define the world for you." Well, I'm going to investigate it without defining it!
"

Another Physics Nobel laureate, Steven Weinberg, wrote (Chapter "Against Philosophy" of his book "Dreams of a final theory"):

"The insights of philosophers have occasionally benefited physicists, but generally in a negative fashion—by protecting them from the preconceptions of other philosophers.(...) without some guidance from our preconceptions one could do nothing at all. It is just that philosophical principles have not generally provided us with the right preconceptions.

Physicists do of course carry around with them a working philosophy. For most of us, it is a rough-and-ready realism, a belief in the objective reality of the ingredients of our scientific theories. But this has been learned through the experience of scientific research and rarely from the teachings of philosophers.

This is not to deny all value to philosophy(...). But we should not expect [the philosophy of science] to provide today's scientists with any useful guidance about how to go about their work or about what they are likely to find.

After a few years' infatuation with philosophy as an undergraduate I became disenchanted. The insights of the philosophers I studied seemed murky and inconsequential compared with the dazzling successes of physics and mathematics. From time to time since then I have tried to read current work on the philosophy of science. Some of it I found to be written in a jargon so impenetrable that I can only think that it aimed at impressing those who confound obscurity with profundity. (...) But only rarely did it seem to me to have anything to do with the work of science as I knew it. (...)
I am not alone in this; I know of no one who has participated actively in the advance of physics in the postwar period whose research has been significantly helped by the work of philosophers. I raised in the previous chapter the problem of what Wigner calls the "unreasonable effectiveness" of mathematics; here I want to take up another equally puzzling phenomenon, the unreasonable ineffectiveness of philosophy.
Even where philosophical doctrines have in the past been useful to scientists, they have generally lingered on too long, becoming of more harm than ever they were of use.(...)
Mechanism had also been propagated beyond the boundaries of science and survived there to give later trouble to scientists. In the nineteenth century the heroic tradition of mechanism was incorporated, unhappily, into the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels and their followers (...) and for a while dialectical materialism stood in the way of the acceptance of general relativity in the Soviet Union
(...) We are not likely to know the right questions until we are close to knowing the answers.(...)
The quark theory was only one step in a continuing process of reformulation of physical theory in terms that are more and more fundamental and at the same time farther and farther from everyday experience.

homeschooling physicist

"But… many introductory books on philosophy take the tack that “philosophy is not so much a set of answers as a way of asking questions: the important thing about philosophy is not specific answers, but rather the philosophical way of thinking”
Yeah – that is because the answers that philosophers have come up with over the centuries have been almost uniformly bad!
(...)
Ethics is too important to be left to the philosophers.
(...)
children should also be taught not to think “philosophically,” in the manner of current and recent academic and professional philosophers. On the contrary, they should be explicitly told that, for at least the last two centuries, the philosophical enterprise as carried out by professional philosophers has been an obvious failure and that the vast increase in our knowledge of reality during the last several centuries has been due not to philosophy but to natural science."

In the same site: Is philosophy futilemore texts on philosophy
Physicists dissing philosophy:
"Science, philosophy, and religion all make claims to have a broad, integrated view of reality. But, the views of reality they arrive at differ dramatically.
It would be quite surprising if three such radically different approaches to confronting reality were to give compatible pictures of reality.
Of course, they do not.
...in some ways, both the creationists and the postmodernists deserve credit for seeing something that more sensible, moderate folks try to evade: in the long-term, science, philosophy, and religion cannot co-exist."

One philosopher acknowledges and sums up the importance and relevance of top scientists'harsch criticism of philosophy, so as to take lessons how to consequently reform the academic practice of philosophy.But other philosophers prefer to reject such criticism and keep justifying their flaws anyway.

More debates if you wish :
Weinberg's "Against Philosophy"
Why philosophize
Does philosophy make you a better scientist
Another discussion
Very long discussion which then diverts from the subject

Other philosophers try to justify philosophy's flaws through empty arguments:

How pitiful it is to observe how philosophers are not even able to give a decent answer to a simple question

They try to justify their inability of finding decent answers by claims such as : the value of philosophy would be to focus on asking the right questions (or eliminating the wrong questions) and eliminating some wrong answers (a sort of intellectual garbage collecting). But these are just blind unjustified beliefs, as the real effect of their work is just the opposite: to multiply and preciously accumulate wrong questions and wrong answers (intellectual garbage collectioning).
This reminds me the joke "How many Microsoft engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They just define darkness as an industry standard." and other "It's not a bug, it's a feature".

Talk:Foundations_of_mathematics

"Anyone, a mathematician especially, who appreciates the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” and the “unreasonable ineffectiveness of philosophy" to scientific endeavors must recognize the dangers of letting "philosophy of math" ride roughshod over "foundations of math" and as a last line of defense, of letting "philosophy and foundations of math" ride roughshod over proper pure and applied maths.

Just look at the talk page for "philosophy of math"! What a mess. Note that some of these people actually believe the destiny of science can be mastered thru verbose semantics, concepts, schema, arguments, etc. The last time I looked, the language of science was still written in mathematics. Fortunately, bullshit had not yet taken over in the math journals.

Specialists in foundations and/or philosophy of math often over-estimate the importance of their work to those in other specialties."

Consider for example how philosophers of maths play the role of garbage collectioners of the failed/crackpot mathematical inspirations such as "Intuitionism" (= possibly interesting hints not properly clarified) or meaningless conceptual divisions that can be made obsolete by mathematical work (see about the completeness theorem in Part III) that they raise as highly philosophical just because it failed to be mathematically meaningful and thus does not interest any reasonable mathematician.

In reply to the criticism that philosophy lost its usefulness since the Enlightenment time, philosophers often react by glorifying themselves of their uselessness, by the straw man argument that, well, optimized financial productivity is not the right ultimate value, and thus should not be the exclusive purpose of public school curricula. 
But, while I agree that numerical measure of the short-term financial profit should not be the final and exclusive criteria of value for an intellectual discipline, the trouble is that philosophers seem to have no other evidently meaningful alternative criteria of value either, except the very negation of the usefulness criteria (together with their intimate but unjustified conviction). Namely, they seem to be raising wastefulness (uselessness) as their ultimate value, as if the very fact something brings no fruit, could serve as an evidence that it must surely be very spiritual. This reminds me the Shadoks' insights :

"I pump, therefore I am
It is better to pump even if nothing happens, than risk that something is going worse by not pumping.
..
their rocket was not highly developed, but they had calculated that it still had 1 chance over 1 million to work. And they hurried to fail the 999 999 first tests to ensure that the millionth works."

With wastefulness as their ultimate value, their work turns out to be universally wasteful, for whatever purpose including the development of the mind and critical thinking itself. The belief they must be good for the spirit or whatever undefinable ideal just based on the observation of their worthlessness for financial profit, is but a superstition among others. They may of course reject this criticism as straw man too, as this description is not exactly their claim, But it does not matter what they exactly claim: this is what they are doing in practice anyway.

How to explain the failure of philosophy ? Well, apart from the crankiness of its members, an important cause is its traditional obsession for essentialism (focusing on the ultimate nature of everything - well, by the way, this is precisely a usual character of cranks), to be contrasted with science's non-essentialism that we described. Science has its own care for essences when needed; it is just not an obsession. Philosophy just failed to follow this model.
We might also describe the difference between science and philosophy in this way:
Science is the practice of rationality, while philosophy has theories of rationality. And these theories are usually disconnected from this practice, because, in fact, there is no better way to understand rationality, that by practicing it.
 
But... is this really awful if philosophy is dominated by cranks ? Well, not necessarily. After all, in order for cranks to stop bothering scientists, they need to go somewhere else and find another public. So, philosophy can be considered useful for its social role of a huge intellectual bin where cranks can gather, while science on its own side can stay clean.

OK, philosophy is so diverse that it may also be possible to find there a minority of decent approaches: a possible example (I only looked briefly)

Remarks on logical positivism and falsificationism

As philosophers can easily notice, there is a flaw in the way Weinberg takes the example of logical positivism and its unfortunate consequences for criticizing philosophy. Indeed, logical positivism was rather made by scientists themselves, precisely as a movement against philosophy, and was popular among scientists but not among philosophers, who quickly rejected it. Thus, philosophers cannot be responsible for these troubles.
Let's explain this issue in more details.

Once understood well, the statement of the principles of science we made at the start of this Part II, including the "logical positivism" principle, is not affected by Weinberg's criticism of logical positivism: the troubles only come from a caricatural form of logical positivism not balanced by the other principles we stated (conceptual reconstruction of reality).

The difference made by philosophers between verificationism (as stated by logical positivists) and Popper's falsificationism (that was later widely taken as a reference of scientificity) has to be dismissed.
Once analyzed well, these are more or less two ways of popularizing the same logical concept. Well, the details of the formulation of logical positivism can have been imperfect and deserve a few corrections. But the main difference is not about what they really mean, which is the same, but a difference of "how they feel", how they might be misinterpreted by irrational people.
To the eyes of a large public as well as many philosophers, Marxism and Psychoanalysis made an impression of being "verified", thus scientific. But this impression of "verification" was a mere illusion, obtained by emptying of meaning the concept of "verification". Then, Karl Popper discovered that another phrasing, "falsificationism", was better suited and efficient to explain how Marxism and Psychoanalysis are false sciences, as they do not stand to the practice of verification used in real science. This was okay, but then he went to wrong conclusions by mistaking this difference of usefulness (for irrational people to more easily notice the lack of scientificity of some ideologies) for a deep conceptual difference. The result is that he replaced the initial misinterpretation of the nature of science, by another misinterpretation, that does not carry the same risks of misuse but can carry some too.

As Weinberg said, the main possible value of philosophy is to refute some errors of other philosophers. So, Popper was good for warning against Psychoanalysis and Marxism as pseudo-sciences, while David Stove was good for warning against the irrationality of Popper and other science philosophers (Feyerabend, Kuhn...).

About clarifying scientific concepts

An example of a "philosophical subject"  is about noticing that modern theories such as relativity and quantum physics, failed to go through a work of cleaning up their fundamental concepts and vocabulary to a comparable extent as classical physics had succeeded before. So they are still often presented inside the language, intuition and even mathematical parameters of classical physics. This conflict between the modern intended theories and the classical intuitions and language still used to expressed them, brings these theories an unfortunate reputation of being counter-intuitive.

That's right, but: what's the use of making a philosophy about it ? This is not a genuine subject for philosophy. This is just a task for science professors to clean up existing knowledge. And this is an administrative problem to pay attention to this question, and provide incentives to:
- publish better courses cleaning up each possible subject, once for all in the world (or several times, of course, but each time caring to do better again than previously);
- For each subject where such a work was already done by someone in the world, take the new view and reform teaching after it.
 
Unfortunately, while such works exist (as I'm caring myself to do some), the education system is so conservative that the necessary changes are not done (because professors are usually so busy repeating over and over again the same old teachings in boring old ways, and are so "the best in their fields", that they have no time to seriously care whether a better way might already have been produced by somebody else).

But hopefully, in a future time when the cleaning up will have been done, what will remain of the philosophy whose thesis was to claim that the cleaning up is not done yet ? Rather do the cleaning up, than philosophize on its lack.

Postmodernism and "science studies"

A community of ideological flaws can be seen between Marxism, which dismisses its opposing theories (economic liberalism) as a mere matter of social forces rather than of truth (so as to use ad hominem as an excuse to not bother arguing rationally), and the postmodernist "science studies".

Everyone should know about the Sokal affair, an episode of the Science Wars:
"The physicist Alan Sokal submitted the article “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity” proposing that quantum gravity is a linguistic and social construct and that quantum physics supports postmodernist criticisms of scientific objectivity. Social Text published the article in the Spring/Summer “Science Wars” issue in May 1996. Later, in the May 1996 issue of Lingua Franca, in the article “A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies”, Prof. Sokal exposed his parody-article, “Transgressing the Boundaries” as an experiment testing the intellectual rigor of an academic journal that would “publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions

However Sokal's hoax should not be overestimated, as it was only directed to a precise movement (postmodernism) that should not be confused with the whole of philosophy or social sciences: in this interview, Alan Sokal said:

"I should make clear that I don’t think my parody article settles anything. It doesn’t by itself prove much – that one journal was sloppy. So it wasn’t the parody itself that proved it, it was the things that I and other people wrote afterward which I believe showed the sloppiness of the philosophy that a lot of postmodernist literary theory types were writing. But again, I wasn’t the first person to make those criticisms. It was only after the fact that I went back into the literature and found philosophers had made many of these criticisms long before me. All I did in a certain sense was to find a better public relations method than they did."

But he also expresses his skepticism on the possibility for philosophy of science to fulfill its goal of understanding the scientific method:

"So I guess you’re right that I’m skeptical that there can ever be a complete over-arching theory simply because science is about rationality; rationality is always adaptation to unforeseen circumstances – how can you possibly codify that? But that doesn’t mean philosophy of science is useless, because all of these attempts that have failed as final codifications of scientific method nevertheless contributed something. "

Anti-Science Phenomenon
"Practitioners of the social sciences have not learned, in their own disciplines, much that is operationally indisputable, readily reproducible, and internationally agreed to; so they cannot easily conceive such a thing to be possible in any field. Knowing in their own discipline that ideology governs "knowledge" as well as theory, they presume that must be so in all fields."

Also, the end of the above quoted Weinberg's chapter "against philosophy" tells about the relations between science and "science studies" by sociologists.
Some interesting observations are without problem:

"For instance, Sharon Traweek has spent years with elementary particle experimentalists at both the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and the KEK Laboratory in Japan and has described what she had seen from the perspective of an anthropologist. This kind of big science is a natural topic for anthropologists and sociologists, because scientists belong to an anarchic tradition that prizes individual initiative, and yet they find in today's experiments that they have to work together in teams of hundreds. As a theorist I have not worked in such a team, but many of her observations seem to me to have the ring of truth, as for instance: The physicists see themselves as an elite whose membership is determined solely by scientific merit. The assumption is that everyone has a fair start. This is underscored by the rigorously informal dress code, the similarity of their offices, and the "first naming" practices in the community. Competitive individualism is considered both just and effective: the hierarchy is seen as a meritocracy which produces fine physics. American physicists, however, emphasize that science is not democratic: decisions about scientific purposes should not be made by majority rule within the community, nor should there be equal access to a lab's resources. On both these issues, most Japanese physicists assume the opposite."

But other aspects present a strong opposition:

"It is simply a logical fallacy to go from the observation that science is a social process to the conclusion that the final product, our scientific theories, is what it is because of the social and historical forces acting in this process. A party of mountain climbers may argue over the best path to the peak, and these arguments may be conditioned by the history and social structure of the expedition, but in the end either they find a good path to the peak or they do not, and when they get there they know it. (No one would give a book about mountain climbing the title Constructing Everest.) I cannot prove that science is like this, but everything in my experience as a scientist convinces me that it is. The "negotiations" over changes in scientific theory go on and on, with scientists changing their minds again and again in response to calculations and experiments, until finally one view or another bears an unmistakable mark of objective success. It certainly feels to me that we are discovering something real in physics, something that is what it is without any regard to the social or historical conditions that allowed us to discover it.

Where then does this radical attack on the objectivity of scientific knowledge come from? One source I think is the old bugbear of positivism, this time applied to the study of science itself. If one refuses to talk about anything that is not directly observed, then quantum field theories or principles of symmetry or more generally laws of nature cannot be taken seriously. What philosophers and sociologists and anthropologists can study is the actual behavior of real scientists, and this behavior never follows any simple description in terms of rules of inference. But scientists have the direct experience of scientific theories as desired yet elusive goals, and they become convinced of the reality of these theories.

There may be another motivation for the attack on the realism and objectivity of science, one that is less high-minded. Imagine if you will an anthropologist who studies the cargo cult on a Pacific island. The islanders believe that they can bring back the cargo aircraft that made them prosperous during World War II by building wooden structures that imitate radar and radio antennas. It is only human nature that this anthropologist and other sociologists and anthropologists in similar circumstances would feel a frisson of superiority, because they know as their subjects do not that there is no objective reality to these beliefs—no cargo-laden C-47 will ever be attracted by the wooden radars. Would it be surprising if, when anthropologists and sociologists turned their attention to studying the work of scientists, they tried to recapture that delicious sense of superiority by denying the objective reality of the scientists' discoveries?
Relativism is only one aspect of a wider, radical, attack on science itself. (...) These radical critics of science seem to be having little or no effect on the scientists themselves. I do not know of any working scientist who takes them seriously."

A delicious self-criticism article by Bruno Latour (the beginning + references is available in pdf or web archive), questioning the field of social studies he created himself, considering how it turned out to lead to conspirationism, denialism, and endangering our planet by the way it is used by political lobbies for denying scientific evidence on global warming:

"...I myself have spent sometimes in the past trying to show the "lack of scientific certainty" inherent in the construction of facts. I too made it a "primary issue." But I did not exactly aim at fooling the public by obscuring the certainty of a closed argument–or did I? After all, I have been accused of just that sin. Still, I'd like to believe that, on the contrary, I intended to emancipate the public from a prematurely naturalized objectified fact. Was I foolishly mistaken? Have things changed so fast?
In which case the danger would no longer be coming from an excessive confidence in ideological arguments posturing as matters of fact–as we have learned to combat so efficiently in the past–but from an excessive distrust of good matters of fact disguised as bad ideological biases! While we spent years trying to detect the real prejudices hidden behind the appearance of objective statements, do we have now to reveal the real objective and incontrovertible facts hidden behind the illusion of prejudices?
..."

Economics

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 difficulties.

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:

The Financial Crisis and the Systemic Failure of Academic Economics

(More references would be welcome; already the Wikipedia article on Economics 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 reasons.

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 religions.

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 current system.

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 still controversial.

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 theirs).

As anti-psychiatrist 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 :
  1. 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 informed consent).
  2. 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.
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.

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.

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 denied.
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 anyway).

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 Psychiatry


"Scientific Skepticism"

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 parts.




Part I - Part II - Part III

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