Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Repost: Consilience- Welcome To The Post Scientific World

I repost this in order to take advantage of recent increased traffic on the blog.

It is one of the things I have discovered that will be most relevant in the examination of both the Copernican Principle, and the closely related principle of evolution via mutation and selection.

Our first film, "The Principle", deals with the former.

Our second, with the latter.

You believe that the Universe (the better informed among you believe that our Hubble bubble) originated in a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago.
You believe that the Earth is about 4 billion years old; that life has evolved from one or more primordial ancestors (most of you believe in abiogenesis as well, but are at pains to insist that you are not required to say so, since you cannot demonstrate this belief experimentally- but as we shall see, most of you think you have even better grounds upon which to believe it anyway).
You believe that random mutation and natural selection are completely adequate means by which to explain the observed biodiversity of our world.
The vast majority of you believe that man’s appearance is also explainable by these means. 
A (much smaller and understandably shrinking) subset of you believe that God must have intervened in the process at the point where man first appears.
The better informed among you are aware that none of these assertions has been demonstrated experimentally (that is, not one of these assertions is scientific, as that word has been understood by Einstein, by Popper, by every great discoverer of scientific principle in history.......until the advent of this post-scientific world).
But even (especially!) the better informed among you believe these things, and you believe them so strongly that you scorn any suggestion that experimental demonstration of these beliefs might reasonably be demanded.
You believe that you have something better than experimental demonstration, which confirms you in these beliefs.
That “something better” is consilience.
Consilience is the only persuasive argument that the post-scientific worldview (the worldview of inflation, of dark matter and dark energy, of the multiverse, of String Theory, of “Deep Time” neo-Darwinism) has ever advanced.
It has persuaded you, and it has persuaded (may God help us), even Princes of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church now proposes consilience as relevant- in some vague but apparently real way- even for Catholics: knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis.  It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge.  The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.”--
Pope John Paul II, Address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 1996
Here it is proposed that the note of scientific truth is found, not in experimental test with the intention of falsifying assumed knowledge, but in the “convergence, neither sought nor fabricated” among independent branches of research.
Consilience is also a key to understanding the Nouvelle Theologie: instead of the Traditional Catholic proclamation “outside the Church there is no salvation”, we are presented with a dialogue among mutual seekers of Truth, all of whom “tend to converge” upon some objective Truth which lies, perhaps, somewhere further down the road of the “convergence” (consilience).
In the scientific world, something was established by experiment, and always subjected to crucial experiment, ceaselessly, *with the intention of falsifying what we might think we know*.
In the post scientific world, experiment exists merely to resolve difficulties in the path of the consilience, of that which we *already have determined that we know*.
In the Traditional Church, salvation was something possessed by the Catholic Church in its fullness, and all dialogue was intended to assist the pagan, the Jew, the heretic, the schismatic, in coming to understand and accept this.
In the modern Church, salvation is, also, something dispensed in unknowable ways by God, to those who seek that consilience, that Truth, which lies somewhere, perhaps, down the road of the dialogue, closer to the convergence of the consilience among the truth-seekers.
Truth is objective, in Traditional Catholic teaching.
Scientific truth is the result of ceaseless experimental challenge, in the scientific world.
Truth is relative, evolving, and the mutual object of truth seekers more or less aligned with the consilience toward which they are “converging”, in the Nouvelle Theologie.
Scientific truth is the result of consilience between lines of investigation, in the post scientific world.
Welcome to the post scientific world.

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