Discussion on the “Values of Fundamental Science” Apr 23

by alexeyburov

My idea for today’s discussion was to give a brief reminder about the talk and then let people speak, although the plan didn’t work out quite as I expected. My “brief recollection” took almost all the time, and to finish that I interrupted people too much, and I am sorry about that.

Several points of the discussion I’d like to reflect here.

When I asked “Why should the public support science, if from the face of science it is claimed that people are nothing but accidental machines and our world is nothing but a tiny piece of accidental mold inside an infinite pile of nonsense?”,

Mike Albrow expressed his disagreement with this statement: he does not know any scientist thinking that way.

My answer was that people normally avoid applying scientific vision to their personal life and to whatever that is valuable for them. So they live in two worlds: one for the explanation of the universe, which is totally scientific, and another for the ethical purposes. My point was that these two worlds are hostile to each other, so they have to be kept separated. The being is pathologically split between the two hostile worlds. This is exactly the case of a cognitive dissonance created by scientism.

Another good question by Mike was, “What is the value of philosophy?”

My answer was that perhaps the main value of philosophy is that philosophy creates concepts for a deep discourse about values. The problem of values of whatever it may be—science, art, family, freedom, laws, and, yes, philosophy—are philosophical problems, not scientific. Science knows nothing about values.

Later, Paola Buitrago expressed her agreement that indeed there is a cognitive dissonance between a scientistic worldview and the meaning of life. I am grateful to Paola for that acknowledgement.