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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Utan skepticism ingen vetenskap ...men intolerans

Låt mig tipsa om ett intressant inlägg av Maurizio Morabito, No Science Without Skepticism, Just Intolerance and Despotism. Det förtjänar att läsas, men ska här citera lite ur det.

Morabito nämner artiklar han läst i kultur och vetenskapsbilagan av Italiens största affärstidning Il Sole24Ore, som var...

"...an almost solid praise of skepticism, described as

* a more reasonable approach to Knowledge (including “Scientific Knowledge” )
* a defense shield against dogmatism and intolerance
* an essential component to help one improve oneself from an ethical point of view.

That’s the skepticism that has reached us through the Enlightenment. Those that refuse skepticism in the realm of science then, and denigrate it, and recklessly rely on an “Unquestionable Authority“, they are ultimately placing themselves outside of Science itself, and outside of nearly four hundred years of philosophy if not more.

What is obvious is that the “skeptical attitude” of ancient and modern philosophers is antithetical to current fashionable AGW, where an incredibly dogmatic rigidity leads to cries of lese-majeste for example when anybody dares to doubt prophecis of upcoming catastrophes, or some of the conclusions of the latest IPCC report, or even the very dangers of anthropogenic climate change."

pierre-bayle.jpgKunskap och skepticismens roll i upplysningen utifrån stoff av Remo Bodei tas upp. Från ett citat av Giacomo Leopardi om 1800-talsfilosofen Pierre Bayle:
"'Bayle’s argument that reason is an instrument of destruction rather than construction, applies very well. Indeed, it reminds me of what I have observed in other areas: that from the Renaissance onwards, and especially recently, the advances of the human spirit have consisted, and mostly consist, not in the discovery of positive truths, but of negative ones. ...'"

Utveckling av kunskap genom ständigt avslöjande av (positiva) sanningar nämns. Men i så fall kan väl ingenting tas för sant?
"...the answer can only be a resounding “No”. In fact, Bodei mentions “pyrrhonism“, the ideas of ancient Greek philosopher Pyrrho, unwilling to choose between the existence (dogmatism) and the denial of existence (stoicism) of an Absolute Truth.

“We can have opinions, but certainty and knowledge are impossible“, Pyrrho said. This would make it absurd to be offended by people having different opinions than ours. If anything, the skeptical invitation is to avoid all dogmatisms, even and perhaps especially those related to scientific discoveries, and to allow us instead the luxury of the possibility to change our mind."

Morabito citerar vidare filosofen Nicla Vassallo:
"'In ancient times skepticism was a practical, as well as theoretical attitude: doubt preserves us from the “dogmatic certainties” with which we conduct our lives, and provides us with greater happiness: the certainties crash as shipwrecks against rocks, whilst doubt allows us to suspend judgement, hence to lead a life sheltered from anxieties, and to reach a higher level of ethics through greater tolerance to different opinions. ...'"

Vassallo nämner the skeptical challenge, som ungefär ska innebära att man kan falsifiera alternativa förklaringar till en utsaga. Morabito avslutar sitt skepticismen försvarande inlägg:
"There is no sense, no legitimacy in claims that do not pass the obstacle represented by the virtuous “skeptical challenge”. So for example we can not take as incontrovertible dogma, or even as scientific knowledge, AGW claims that are compatible with everything and its opposite, able to explain the warming and then the cooling too, and any future heating and/or cooling.

That’s because if we are not able to tell a natural warming from an anthropogenic one, how can we then claim to have seen AGW?

scary al goreRigidity, dogmatism, the claim of possessing an absolute truth that no one may dare challenge, they all do not belong to the wise, the philosopher, the sensible person.

Neither can they be legitimate tools for the scientist."

Morabitos inlägg här.

(Bilden på Gore från ett besök i Australien där senator Steve Fielding läxades upp.)

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