"Scientific Theory Spectrum"
Scientific Theory Spectrum Paul Budding In this paper I outline a simple scientific spectrum for reasons of orientation and clarity. On the Scientific theory Spectrum (below) I note three simple categories. B: Belief-orientated types who accept anything and everything that goes beyond the material science paradigm. C: Center ground: Follows the evidence. D: Debunker physical or material cause and effect scientific thinkers. B---------------------------------------------C---------------------------------------------D I favour ‘C’. But before discussing the center ground we will say a-little more about the B and D wings. Belief Wing: They are attracted to anomalous phenomena due to ‘wanting to believe’. Ghosts, The Near Death Experience (NDE), and The UFO Phenomenon are excellent examples of this. There is nothing wrong with belief (it may even be comforting) but it isn’t scientific thinking. Also note that the likes of ghosts and NDE’s go beyond the existing physical science paradigm. Believers tend to opt for belief in phenomena that is beyond the scientific materialism paradigm. Debunker Wing: Debunkers reject anything and everything that is not part and parcel of the scientific materialism paradigm. The debunker who signs up to scientific materialism thinks that all of reality can be explained by physicality and cause and effect. Some people attain orientation by doing this. And they may be great physical scientists (and that’s a good thing!) but they halt progress in other areas. For example if everyone was a debunker science would be stalled as far as mind and consciousness issues were concerned… thus if there’s reality beyond the physical/cause and effect then we would never find out about it. Center Ground: The Center ground is the position that we advocate. The Center follows the evidence. The Center accepts and embraces physical cause and effect science but does not claim that it is the final answer. Scientific enquiry is encouraged in order to progress. So hypotheses can be explored even though they risk being rejected in the future. Look at science now and its theories… it’s increasingly open to alterations being made concerning space time and even open to the idea that there may be more than one universe. The Center ground is not a place to attack materialism. Scientific materialism is brilliant and advancing at a superb rate of knots! The Center ground advocates scrutiny of one’s thinking (and of others thinking) so that we do not slip into belief. The Center Ground and Scepticism: The term ‘sceptic’ is thrown around like confetti. But we see it as a relative term. I favour not using it. Most people are sceptics to a relative extent otherwise we would believe every advertisement and every opinion that was ever audible to us. Hence the term ‘sceptism’ lacks an orientation characteristic. I would only recommend using it to say that e.g., ‘Jane is sceptical relative to Mary.’ The Center Ground and Evidence: Follow the Evidence. That is a requirement for someone who says that they are in the Center. So for example in the Out of Body Experience (OBE) the flat-lined patient hears/sees conversations occurring in another room. It is not proof because proof is absolute. Evidence is ‘relative’. But there are so many of these cases that it’s beyond ‘chance’, ‘luck’ etc. Still, it’s not as certain as ‘gravity’, but the evidence suggests that something is going on. (i.e., that the person really sees and hears these conversations). So evidence is something that ‘suggests’ such as a legal man or woman says “the evidence suggests that..” They don’t say “the proof suggests that…” And in physics… physicists don’t say “the evidence suggests that gravity is real.” They say that gravity is absolutely proven. In following the evidence the Center ground does not get ahead of itself and establish beliefs. (that’s the job of the believers!) But it doesn’t reject the evidence either. (that’s the job of the debunkers!) Hypotheses may be formed. If a debunker was reading this he or she may think… ‘hey maybe these hypotheses are disguised as hypotheses when really they are beliefs’. My response to that is that if a center ground thinker had written an essay that included hypotheses then you should be able to tell if they are hypotheses or beliefs. For example in Ufology the most center ground thinker is Jacques Vallee. He may have biases but when he writes about different hypotheses I don’t sense that he has a pet theory that is really a belief system. Of course that is rare in Ufology. Most UFO thinkers do have a belief system concerning the Extraterrestrial intelligently controlled nuts n bolts craft (ETH). Vallee is innocent of that. The Center Ground and Proof: One of the worries from the belief wing is that the Center ground thinker could follow the evidence and hypothesise for a life- time and never prove anything. But scientific enquiry and hypothesising is interesting in itself and sometimes progress is made. (e.g. think of the AWARE Study and its findings concerning OBE’s). Of course, as said, proof is absolute. The Center grounder may be dealing with phenomena that can be absolutely proven. (e.g., technological inventors). But some or many areas of life are more likely to be evidence driven, suggestive of…, and probability based. The Center Ground and Reductionism: Physical Science reduces all of reality to the physical and cause and effect. (at least this is true for those physical scientists who debunk anything beyond their paradigm) This can result in orientation for them. Others (such as myself) would see through ourselves. Of course, some materialist debunkers also have career status to preserve but no where near every debunker is in a cushty job so it is far more accurate to say that the debunker is experiencing orientation irrespective of their career status. They could be poverty- stricken. Scientific enquiry into mind and consciousness is consistent with being a center grounder as it is not a settled issue. However, the scientific center is not ready to accept other worlds that operate according to ‘Mind’ as a new reductionism that matches the materialism paradigm. Nevertheless, the wind is blowing in the direction of taking Mind and Consciousness seriously and even non-locality concerning brain and mind is being given serious thought. This is due to OBE’s and the slant is in favour of them… i.e., the evidence suggests that OBE’s are really happening. The Center Ground and Scientific Enquiry: This is an important ingredient of the Center. (hypothesising, considering, and also reflecting afterwards in case of error). Scientific Materialism did not emerge out of nowhere. It too needed scientific enquiry, modelling, theorizing… all as a pre-requisite to its existence. So scientific enquiry is healthy. Objectivity/Neutrality/Non-Bias: Adopting these terms as principles are the best way of avoiding error in your thinking and are other necessary ingredients of the centrist. If you add ‘hard thinking’ to this list, then you possess many of the right traits to become a smart person!