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Thread: The Value of Science and Scientific Management of Society

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    The Value of Science and Scientific Management of Society


    [Staff note: This discussion has been split to a new thread. To see the original thread, go here.]



    Quote Originally Posted by Hauke Haien View Post
    My enterprise will fail if it is built on lies I tell myself about the workings of the world, [...]
    What I observe is that people still believe in the scientific management of society and the power of science to predict the future and to inform the course of their lives beyond mere technical procedures.
    I do not follow here.
    How do you get to know the inner workings of the world while rejecting the scientific method as a means to predict management of society? Every knowledge exists for predictions, or else you are just a smart-arse.

    The scientific method is first and foremost a cultivated search for truth!

    I.e.:
    Quote Originally Posted by Hauke Haien View Post
    The Alt Right is yet another conglomerate of unrelated consumers banded together by a commonality of notions.
    NS emphasized the commonality of blood through science. Bullshit like merely speaking the same language, or just being Anti-Anything was rejected.

    In short: could you elaborate what you mean with your statement about science?
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    I do not follow here.
    How do you get to know the inner workings of the world while rejecting the scientific method as a means to predict management of society? Every knowledge exists for predictions, or else you are just a smart-arse.

    The scientific method is first and foremost a cultivated search for truth!
    My perspective would be that of all sciences humans have created, only a part of these (the natural sciences) make it possible for humans to predict things. And it is this type of science that is meant when people speak of a scientifically organized society.

    In their respective domain these sciences are of great value. Yet because the domain of human activity cannot be reduced to these 'predicting sciences', the attempt to scientifically organize society accordingly will lead to a type of politics that treats human beings as something they are not; this type of politics is bound to fail.

    The atomism of liberal democracy is actually a good example how a scientific approach of human communities takes us away from reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    My perspective would be that of all sciences humans have created, only a part of these (the natural sciences) make it possible for humans to predict things.
    How so? I understand that many sciences concerning humans are far behind in prediction potential, however, this is a structural problem, not one of principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    In their respective domain these sciences are of great value. Yet because the domain of human activity cannot be reduced to these 'predicting sciences', the attempt to scientifically organize society accordingly will lead to a type of politics that treats human beings as something they are not; this type of politics is bound to fail.
    Like "gender-studies"?
    I agree, the void of actual knowledge in these disciplines is sold as facts. The latest trend is repainted as the latest scientific advance.
    This is however not a problem of the scientific method, but of underpaid/evil/politically-motivated/structural-pressured scientists grasping for straws.

    So the term "believing in science" is meant as "believing scientists"?

    Most social studies are simply not open for the scientific method due to a myriad of reasons, but actual findings should not be neglected.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    Like "gender-studies"?
    I agree, the void of actual knowledge in these disciplines is sold as facts. The latest trend is repainted as the latest scientific advance.
    This is however not a problem of the scientific method, but of underpaid/evil/politically-motivated/structural-pressured scientists grasping for straws.

    So the term "believing in science" is meant as "believing scientists"?
    No, this is not what I'm after. I agree that a lot that is sold as 'science' nowadays is just bullocks. Gender-studies is probably the best example of this. On the other hand these post-modern theories become increasingly easier to attack when they start to meddle in the realm of the natural sciences. It's no wonder that a physics professor launched a (very admirable) attack on post-modernist pseudo-science (The Sokal affaire). But it gets harder when we remain in the domain of the sciences where these theories originated, the humanities.

    So answering the following:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    How so? I understand that many sciences concerning humans are far behind in prediction potential, however, this is a structural problem, not one of principle.
    I would disagree. I think it is a matter of principle. Take history for example. Human beings are very much 'historical beings'. But we cannot learn from history in the same way as we learn from a physical experiment. For a large part history is how we understand ourselves and depends on ones inner predispositions (see Nietzsche).
    Ironically it was the introduction of the 'naturalist' method in history, that lead to Spengler's fatalism, which was again attacked by nationalsocialists because of his lack of acknowledging the importance of human will. And it is exactly the actions of our will that we cannot predict.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    I would disagree. I think it is a matter of principle. Take history for example. Human beings are very much 'historical beings'. But we cannot learn from history in the same way as we learn from a physical experiment.
    Technically we could, but not with our current methods. If you had a crystal ball telling you anything you want from the past (truthfully) it certainly would allow for some abstractions of natural laws.
    You do have a good point though, since it could be a matter of principle that such methods can't exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    For a large part history is how we understand ourselves and depends on ones inner predispositions (see Nietzsche).
    Nietzsche made a distinction between a truthful historical recital, an omitting one, and a plain false one. For the sole purpose of character, he sees merit in all three of them.
    But how would we even know this without historical science dedicated to truth? Logically, you couldn't even know if you are lying, if you don't know the truth.
    All three presuppose each other.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    Technically we could, but not with our current methods. If you had a crystal ball telling you anything you want from the past (truthfully) it certainly would allow for some abstractions of natural laws.
    You do have a good point though, since it could be a matter of principle that such methods can't exist.


    Nietzsche made a distinction between a truthful historical recital, an omitting one, and a plain false one. For the sole purpose of character, he sees merit in all three of them.
    But how would we even know this without historical science dedicated to truth? Logically, you couldn't even know if you are lying, if you don't know the truth.
    All three presuppose each other.
    Hmm, I don't know what you are referring to. Nietzsches distinction in 'On the advantage and disadvantage of history for life' (the monumental, the antiquarian and the critical) is rather the other way around; it's a distinction primarily based on character, not on the level of truthfulness. And it's character (the service of history to life) that he cares about. Merely knowing what has happened is what he opposes.

    The problem is twofold. Like you've said, such methods can't exist. History therefore is inevitably a science of human character, to put it boldly. To organize society on a scientific basis, would already exclude the historical aspect of human life purely out of practical reasons. So we arrive at the point made earlier, that such a type of politics treats human beings as something they're not.
    Secondly, even if we had a crystal ball to tell us what has happened, how would we abstract natural laws? And will these laws be sufficient to guarantee succes in reproducing history (like a scientific experiment can)? The origins of capitalism have been explained by referrence to protestantism, sea-power, technological innovation, Judaism. Marx already tried out the monocausal solution; he missed a lot and any scientific approach will.

    More in general, how can we scientifically predict ideas, actions, attitudes?
    What science can find out gives us something to work with. But in the end it's always us that will have to work with it. Otherwise, why would we need to organize society according to laws that already work on their own?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    Hmm, I don't know what you are referring to. Nietzsches distinction in 'On the advantage and disadvantage of history for life' (the monumental, the antiquarian and the critical) is rather the other way around; it's a distinction primarily based on character, not on the level of truthfulness. And it's character (the service of history to life) that he cares about. Merely knowing what has happened is what he opposes.
    It is logically equivalent to what I said: when I say he sees merit in all three cases of historic "knowledge" for the sake of character, it means he cares about character and sees distinctive purposes in this.
    Or maybe my English is rusty.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    History therefore is inevitably a science of human character, to put it boldly. To organize society on a scientific basis, would already exclude the historical aspect of human life purely out of practical reasons. So we arrive at the point made earlier, that such a type of politics treats human beings as something they're not.
    Well, I would argue that history simply has to pass the torch to psychology/sociology/ethnology/etc. and we are set again.
    We are not discussing history in an isolated context, it was, after all, about "science".

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    Secondly, even if we had a crystal ball to tell us what has happened, how would we abstract natural laws? And will these laws be sufficient to guarantee succes in reproducing history (like a scientific experiment can)? The origins of capitalism have been explained by referrence to protestantism, sea-power, technological innovation, Judaism. Marx already tried out the monocausal solution; he missed a lot and any scientific approach will.
    They missed a lot exactly because they had no crystal ball. This is a rhetoric trick I did not expect of you.
    You can't start an argument with a premise and then conclude with examples totally void of this premise.
    In this thought experiment you would abstract natural laws as usual: through observation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    More in general, how can we scientifically predict ideas, actions, attitudes?
    By understanding how ideas, attitudes and motivations are generated. This is currently certainly not possible, and even brain imaging techniques are more a hoax than real science, however, I was just juggling some (unreal) ideas around to find a principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    What science can find out gives us something to work with. But in the end it's always us that will have to work with it. Otherwise, why would we need to organize society according to laws that already work on their own?
    All laws have more than one parameter, understanding these laws should tell us what happens if we change a certain parameter, e.g. Negro influx in European societies. It's good to know in advance, otherwise we can only try it out, and this can get dangerous.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    It is logically equivalent to what I said: when I say he sees merit in all three cases of historic "knowledge" for the sake of character, it means he cares about character and sees distinctive purposes in this.
    Or maybe my English is rusty.
    The difference is that the distinction Nietzsche made is based on character and therefor any distinguishable level of truthfulness that can be found in the different types he described (if they can be found at all) is accidental.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    Well, I would argue that history simply has to pass the torch to psychology/sociology/ethnology/etc. and we are set again.
    We are not discussing history in an isolated context, it was, after all, about "science".
    For some aspects of history that can prove fruitful, but it would not make the science of history redundant. Human beings would still remain historical beings.

    Indeed, history was only an example. Sociology is perhaps even more interesting, because it studies something that is a result of different individuals coming together, but at the same time cannot be found in those individuals. It's what Othmar Spann calls 'Gezweiung', the fact that the whole of a people is more than the sum of its parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    They missed a lot exactly because they had no crystal ball. This is a rhetoric trick I did not expect of you.
    You can't start an argument with a premise and then conclude with examples totally void of this premise.
    In this thought experiment you would abstract natural laws as usual: through observation.
    Good point. It wasn't meant as a rhetorical trick, but I missed a few steps in my writing which caused it to seem as one.
    The examples I provided were rather meant as examples of the problem that might occur in the case we had such a crystal ball. We would be able to literally see what has happened, observe a succession of different events. But what do we make of these events? Which one caused the other and to what extent? Because we cannot repeat history in an experiment (everything would need to be exactly the same, which because it is history is impossible in principle) we would still end up with a diversity of causal explanations competing with eachother. And we cannot isolate these different factors.
    So we would still be subject to the regular problems history faces without a crystal ball, such as the attempt of monocausal explanations like Marx did.
    I hope this is more clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    By understanding how ideas, attitudes and motivations are generated. This is currently certainly not possible, and even brain imaging techniques are more a hoax than real science, however, I was just juggling some (unreal) ideas around to find a principle.
    Yes, and I'm trying to get along. I agree with the use this would have; but than we would know how ideas come into existence, but not what they are. Once created, an idea has a reality of its own. How it transfers to someone else and how receptive this other individual is to the idea is something only the humanities can deal with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    All laws have more than one parameter, understanding these laws should tell us what happens if we change a certain parameter, e.g. Negro influx in European societies. It's good to know in advance, otherwise we can only try it out, and this can get dangerous.
    I won't dispute this, but we still have to decide that what Negro influx leads to is a bad thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    The atomism of liberal democracy is actually a good example how a scientific approach of human communities takes us away from reality.
    You don't actually believe that the prevailing order has taken a scientific approach to managing the well-being of our societies, do you? We are not even allowed to acknowledge the obvious biological differences between Europeans and negroes.

    However, if you want to argue that the prevailing order has applied scientific methods towards discovering the most effective means for destroying our societies, you might have a case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard View Post
    Hmm, I don't know what you are referring to. Nietzsches distinction in 'On the advantage and disadvantage of history for life' (the monumental, the antiquarian and the critical) is rather the other way around; it's a distinction primarily based on character, not on the level of truthfulness. And it's character (the service of history to life) that he cares about. Merely knowing what has happened is what he opposes.

    The problem is twofold. Like you've said, such methods can't exist. History therefore is inevitably a science of human character, to put it boldly. To organize society on a scientific basis, would already exclude the historical aspect of human life purely out of practical reasons. So we arrive at the point made earlier, that such a type of politics treats human beings as something they're not.
    Secondly, even if we had a crystal ball to tell us what has happened, how would we abstract natural laws? And will these laws be sufficient to guarantee succes in reproducing history (like a scientific experiment can)? The origins of capitalism have been explained by referrence to protestantism, sea-power, technological innovation, Judaism. Marx already tried out the monocausal solution; he missed a lot and any scientific approach will.

    More in general, how can we scientifically predict ideas, actions, attitudes?
    What science can find out gives us something to work with. But in the end it's always us that will have to work with it. Otherwise, why would we need to organize society according to laws that already work on their own?
    According to your logic, the science behind, say, jet propulsion is of little or no value in creating jet airplanes, and that jet airplanes somehow just arise out of the predictive natural laws that make them possible.

    Science is a means to an end, not an end in itself. We can use science for more than just making predictions: we can apply it towards realizing that which we "will," such as jet airplanes, life-saving medicines, or the biological goals of Nationalsocialism.

    And of course, science is also a tool for distinguishing truth from lies, which is why fundamentalist Christians and proponents of racial equality feel compelled to suppress certain sciences.
    — Always outnumbered but never outclassed —

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ward View Post
    You don't actually believe that the prevailing order has taken a scientific approach to managing the well-being of our societies, do you? We are not even allowed to acknowledge the obvious biological differences between Europeans and negroes.
    It's founded on a scientific approach, but that doesn’t mean that this is the only possible result of a scientific approach to managing our societies. The foundation of the liberal contract theory on which our politics are built has its origins in Thomas Hobbes’ extension of physics to the human domain, ‘atomizing’ the individual. From the field of economy and social sciences rational choice theory has been very important to liberalism as well. We can't ignore the influence of positivism either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ward View Post
    According to your logic, the science behind, say, jet propulsion is of little or no value in creating jet airplanes, and that jet airplanes somehow just arise out of the predictive natural laws that make them possible.
    No, it’s not the jetplane that arises automatically, it are the laws behind it that function automatically. The element between the two is human.
    So I don’t quite understand when you reply with:

    Quote Originally Posted by Ward View Post
    Science is a means to an end, not an end in itself. We can use science for more than just making predictions: we can apply it towards realizing that which we "will," such as jet airplanes, life-saving medicines, or the biological goals of Nationalsocialism.
    Since that is exactly the position I have been defending, see f.e.:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard
    What science can find out gives us something to work with. But in the end it's always us that will have to work with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard
    ...but we still have to decide...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bernhard
    ...because of his lack of acknowledging the importance of human will. And it is exactly the actions of our will that we cannot predict.
    When you speak of goals I merely ask who has set those goals and why.

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