Article 82

The Differentiation Of Science From Non-science (Nonsense).

With this website having set out the means by which I definitively differentiate knowledge from belief, and having thus set out my conclusions that all attempts to make progress through freedom of speech are futile as yet, and will be, as long as all that is spoken of is belief and counter-belief supported by facts/counter-facts, evidence/counter-evidence or news/false-news, rather than debate-terminating conclusive knowledge; that the debate of belief/counter-belief produces nothing other than an elective belief-consensus pending the resumption of the debate; that such debate results only in the transient empowerment of one political party or another; and that such parties, enact only party-specific belief-only policies while in office with knowledge never being considered; and that consequently all democratic societies lurch from one crisis to another with no internal knowledge-only progress whatsoever, while belief-only dictatorships never make progress either, unless knowledge, inadvertently, intervenes at least to this or that extent.

Since my school days, I have been astounded at the extent to which belief has failed to be formally differentiated from knowledge, and as a university science student, I was even more astounded to note that even self-styled scientists did not formally recognise this differentiation. Nonetheless I was yet more astounded to note that even those who wrote histories of science failed to recognise that the observation of cause-effect relationships in reality was the activity which differentiated craft and scientific knowledge from the belief/counter-belief which existed everywhere else. Thus, in my first post-graduate year, I became aware that my PhD candidate colleagues in the chemistry department were spending time discussing the possibility that it might have been possible to deduce all that was known of physics and chemistry from one observation of the world without the need for any further experimentation; and that the chosen observation from which these deductions could have been made, was the anomalous expansion of water as it cools from 4 degrees centigrade to ice and is the cause of the flotation of ice on liquid water and of all the consequences of that phenomenon. I could see as my colleagues did, that from this observation it could be deduced that water might consist of particles (atoms) which could be closer in space in liquid water than in solid ice but I could not see what could be deduced from there. Were we to assume that the plethora of substances in the natural world consisted of atoms other than those of water, whereupon there would have to be as many different atoms as there were different substances in total, or were there a limited number of different atoms which combined together to form different groups to account for the plethora of different substances; and that, if so, the elucidation of this conundrum would require as many cause-effect experiments as had led us to our present knowledge of these matters. At this point, I learned from my informants that this speculation had originated from graduate students in the physics department and no doubt from its mathematical physics section, but it did re-enforce my view that very few scientists, if any, really understood or understand the nature of the activity they are engaged in. Later I heard that a well-known mathematical physicist had at least partially supported my recognition of the nature of science in likening the classifiers of biological-species to philatelists in respect of the of the absence of cause-effect experimentation in this activity; and that it was thus understandable that those involved in non-science subjects do not recognise the knowledge-only nature of science or indeed of craftsmanship; that they are thus even further removed from recognition of the need to evaluate beliefs (theories) for compliance or non-compliance with reality, usually by experimentation designed to relate the believed cause to the observed effect and to observe whether or not they are thus related in reality; and that in the absence of such cause-effect relationships we have only correlations which are not cause-effect related. One such correlation which is not yet a demonstrated cause-effect relationship, is that which correlates atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide with the belief in anthropogenic global warming. By way of offering another example of the difference between correlation and cause-effect knowledge, I have already recorded in this website that having listened to a lecture which presented a reduction in plankton numbers in the western approaches to the English Channel as having been caused by increases in marine pollution without having demonstrated a cause-effect relationship, I privately brought this mere correlation to the attention of the lecturer, while he was circulating within his audience in the subsequent coffee break, and enquired whether or not he had considered correlating his observed reduction in plankton numbers with the then current increase in the issuance of TV licences, to which his response was simply to continue his circulation of the coffee group.

Since the inception of GB News, I have noted that unlike other channels, it exposes beliefs and their counter-beliefs to the general public. However, while it does not differentiate knowledge from belief as I do, it does reveal that in the absence of conclusive knowledge, its staff and their guests never reach any conclusions at all; and that this absence of conclusion persists whatever the subject areas considered. As to this absence of conclusion, one example will suffice. In being asked to explain why the Industrial Revolution started in Britain, David Starkie, historian and general intellectual, responded that it was due to the imagination of its British initiators, thus revealing with this circularity that he had no idea that it was due to the knowledge of science which had reached take-off in knowledge-only engineering in advance of everywhere else. One doesn’t create a steam engine by merely imagining one through noticing that steam raises a kettle lid when the water comes to the boil. As to debate of itself being productive, each episode of GB News demonstrates quite the opposite with all participants leaving with the beliefs or the counter-beliefs with which they arrived, and with some contenders attempting to shout-down their opponents in an absence of any recognition of the concept of freedom of speech, the benefit of which the channel purports to ddemonstrate.

Thus, I say again that reality stimulates our imaginations to rational beliefs transformable to positive or negative knowledge by evaluation of their compliance or non-compliance with reality through cause-effect experimentation or to those beliefs which can only be accepted, rejected or suspended as beliefs beyond such reality-evaluation in current practice or in principle but which cannot be accepted as debate-terminating knowledge; that such reality-evaluation of specific beliefs (hypotheses) produced the craft and self knowledge which secured our group-species survival from time immemorial and the science, engineering and technological knowledge which enhanced our welfare from the seventeenth century onwards, while our knowledge-based development was variously disrupted by conflicting religious beliefs, by knowledge-rejecting secular beliefs or by the reactions of ignored reality in ways which belief is unable to anticipate and avert.

Thus, I now seek ubiquitous acceptance that secular beliefs whether implemented or not, must now be reality-evaluated to positive or negative knowledge; that lax or absent reality-evaluation corrupts the social, economic, and environmental sciences to the pseudoscience now responsible for deteriorating personal behaviour, diminishing social cohesion, recurring financial crises, and increasing uncertainty of material and energy supply by diverting resources from real to unreal problems (e.g. to much of environmentalism and to all of Net zero). Thus, I now seek universal recognition that our current maladies can only be rectified by a general recognition that knowledge-only policies conducive to our species survival and to our social and political welfare are properly defined as right and good and counter-beliefs as wrong and bad, that political manifestos must start to prioritise knowledge-only policy options and identify as such any belief-only policies necessitated by current ignorance; and that this thus defined change will render continuous our otherwise interrupted and/or disrupted progress. Again, this website calls for a general recognition that knowledge is acquired by verification or refutation of beliefs (hypotheses) through designed experimentation in reality; that such experimentation is erroneously referred to as research, the error being in the prefix; that it is not re-search because the experiment has never been previously carried out and, with its results now established, it will not need to be repeated; that research, as the prefix implies is what non-scientists do when they return to existing (historical) records and have another go at re-interpreting them; that the degree of Ph.D is wrongly applied to science, science being in no sense philosophy; that metaphysics is not science; that philosophy erroneously attempts to acquire knowledge by rational thought alone while ignoring reality, while science seeks knowledge of reality by evaluating rational thought as to its compliance with reality, as both are explicated in this website and in my earlier print-on-demand book of 2010, entitled The Rational Trinity: Imagination, Belief and Knowledge, as available from Amazon and from Book Shops. 17/10/21.

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