Science is the search for essential knowledge.
Though, it (should) tends toward particular knowledge.
Everything stems from the raw physical properties of reality.1Every animal is a clump of cells moving, which is a set of molecules making chemical reactions, which is a set of atoms interacting with each other, and so on.Theoretically, everything can be explained using the pure elemental units of physics–this is the physical view of reality.
Hence, the “scientific method” is A. Reductionist2“using the truest knowledge closest to raw physics”, and B. Quantitative3“piling as much precise data as possible”.
Since the enlightenment, science opened the door(reduction) to the unexplored levels of reality. That was incredible. It brought phenomenal results.
The Problem With Reduction
Because the “scientific method” is so effective, “scientific people” tend to disregard knowledge that isn’t based on natural sciences. If something isn’t based on physics, if not chemistry, if not biology, it’s not treated as “real” knowledge…or it’s an inferior knowledge.
The problem is that a lot of “inferior knowledge” work (better than “real knowledge”). And knowledge is what works.
The closer to physical a knowledge is ⇒ The more micro the units are ⇒ The more precision it requires for usefulness4over the long term, especially)
In a large system, with ~∞ interactions, the butterfly effect gets a hold.
- (Simulating weather): EASY;
- Forecasting “actual” weather tomorrow: HARD;
- Forecasting “actual” weather next week: REALLY HARD;
- Forecasting “actual” weather next month: IMPOSSIBLE.
↑Complexity/duration ⇒ ↑Precision/computation required.5Exponentially6Complexity is the distance between the knowledge and its application; how micro knowledge is compared to how macro application is.
- With computation: the exponential curve is often so steep, that even Moore’s Law can’t catch up.
- With precision: not only does the requirement go up, but it’s also harder to be precise.7Good luck measuring all the atom positions of the human body.
(Academia8which allows little nuance, reasonably so9academia (the scientific communities) is first and foremost about raw, fundamental sciences, which absolutely cannot have any nuancesconstantly fails to find knowledge, if at all, of complex systems.10I’m not saying that these disciplines are a waste. I’m pointing out how difficult it is.)
Narrative(abstract) knowledge has the advantage in a complex environment; because they’re “abstractions”, they need more nuance(general intelligence) than precision.
Unlike reductionist knowledge11theory based, lab experiments, they’re gained through “direct” observations/experiments12tinkering, trial & error.
They’re complete opposites; complementary to each other.
Science will continue to change;
Wisdom will continue to stay.
- Physical(reductionist) knowledge works better (in a small system), given enough precision/computing power.
- Narrative(abstract) knowledge works better (in a large system), in the absence of the two.
Questions & comments are welcome!
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