THREAD: Natural Philosophy – Real Science

1. Modern science is at a x-roads. Many areas of study have been plagued for decades by external & internal dogma, an education system pushing superficial ideas & history, & $$ pressure to compromise. Real science is natural philosophy.
2. What is natural philosophy (NP)? NP is the reasoned, intersubjective exploration of nature. Prior to the 20th century, scientists were known as natural philosophers, and today the NP chair at universities is usually held by a maths or physics professor.
3. Sadly, the philosophical underpinnings of science have been eroded to the point where, today, few students and scientists have any real understanding of their own foundational philosophy. The late 1800s to early 1900s saw a growing lack of philosophical understanding.
4. Cantor's theory of cardinalities of infinites in the 1800s helped usher in the modern age of theoretical mathematics over realism, which in turn allowed non-real theories like Einstein's Relativities. By ~1900 the erosion of philosophical understanding was becoming clear.
5. Language is important and should be exacting. Theories/statements must be consistent with all parent concepts employed, and be internally (logically) consistent. They must be consistent w/ tests against reality. Words/symbols have meaning & these must be adhered to explicitly.
6. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, became known as the father of the PR industry. He used mass psychology to manipulate public perception. He noted how media, publishing, education & "science" could be used to control thought patterns of the masses = further erosion.
7. Tax exempt foundations (Carnegie, Ford, Rockefeller etc) were used to influence thought & education in the US (and globally), via publishing textbooks, founding universities, funding researchers, and policy advice. Governing organisations were created to allow fuller control.
8. Due to corporate, govt & NGO (national & transnational) agenda & funding power, the quality of science in many fields has been greatly eroded. The IPCC, for example, is a political organisation masquerading as a scientific body. So how do we encourage a return to real science?
9. Education is the key to reviving science as natural philosophy. Additionally, a reasonable proportion of funding must open and free from political/corporate pressure. The peer review system encourages dogma and must be adjusted to allow the free exchange of thought.
10. Education in science must included, as it did for NPs of the Scientific Revolution, a broad understanding of the philosophy of language, linguistics and maths. This should be akin to classical Trivium and Quadrivium training. Students should be taught HOW, not WHAT, to think.
11. Realism must be brought back as a foundational concept. Mathematics in science must avoid pure metaphysics. Concepts such as cause & effect should be understood properly – as the mutual dependence of phenomena. Ernst Mach
12. Inductive vs deductive reasoning must be clearly understood. Metrology (measure), geometry using ratios, & many other important aspects must be explored. THE foundational concepts of NP should form the basis of physical science: SPACE, TIME, FORCE (conflated with MASS today).
13. As an aside, check out this beautiful description of the propagation of sound waves, written ~2000 years ago in a treatise on architecture called De Architectura, by the Roman architect/military engineer Marcus Vitruvius Pollio.
14. Historically, competing theories have not always led to the best theory becoming dominant (standard in use today). The first example is electrodynamics. Today electrical engineers essentially learn Maxwell's EM, but there was a more consistent version: Ampere-Gauss-Weber ED.
15. Pasteur is famous for his germ theory & many other achievements, but a few of his claimed successes were actually those of his competitor at the French Academy, Antoine Béchamp. Pasteur's germ theory is equivalent to putting the cart before the horse, and Bechamp showed why.
16. Many of the hard & soft sciences need to be re-examined from the perspective of proper natural philosophy: biological/medical sciences, physics & astro-physics/cosmology, aqueous chemistry, geology, paleontology/archeology, etc.
17. There are some good natural philosophers working today, thankfully. For those interested in physics and harder sciences, this Brazilian physicist is excellent, and has a number books (PDFs) that demonstrate how to explore various subjects: ifi.unicamp.br/~assis/

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