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Old 02-08-2009, 02:15 AM   #1
aeondrift
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Are there any other methods besides Science/Reason which could lead to "Knowledge"?

Science is not what only us scientists do. Every time you make an observation, and try to come up with an explanation and an appropriate course of action, be it in sports, playing music on a keyboard, to learning how to use a computer, something very similar to "doing science" is effectively taking place. They have one thing in common, they all rely on an input from the environment from which data are collected, to thus enable an appropriate reaction to take place.

Science is only concerned with reality which we, sitting at our limited vantage point, can ever encounter. Stuck at this state, we should admit our limitation to acquire certain knowledge of certain things which are beyond our reach. The approach of science with its tool, mathematics, have extended our reach in our exploration of the reality that is out there. But there are certainly still limits to where we can ever explore, even with science.

Are there any other methods that, like science, could provide us with knowledge of reality? Are there any irrational methods that can give us a high probability of getting it right?

Further, we can have only probable knowledge about the world (and by "truth" I refer to reality), to "that which actually is". Absolute knowledge with about the world, with 100% beyond the doubt certainty can not exist (unless you're referring to pure logic, i.e. 1+1 = 2).

Science is constantly self-checking and self-correcting, refining on existing theories as new evidence becomes available. No theories are treated as absolute and may be proven wrong one day, or improved to reflect reality to an even greater precision and/or accuracy. This is the strength of the Scientific Method, not its weakness. Science do not concern itself with the "knowledgeable". Yes "human-knowledge" and "human-logic/reasons" may be limited (as some Theists have argued), but as humans, it is all that we (as people) have to discern and uncover reality. It is only honest to admit that limitation.

We are not omniscient, hence there are just things which we can NOT possibly know -- even if it does truly exists in reality.

For things which have no evidence at all, it would be impossible for us to know if its true? Believing it to be true based on faith perhaps, but there can not be knowledge of its existence by any stretch.

Furthermore, without even a ounce of evidence, it highly probable that it is not true; like infinite of other probable stuff that I can conjure up with my imagination. Something which is not known to be true or which can not be known at all, thus can not qualify as "knowledge". It might or might not be "true" in the end, but that we do not know. From our very limited vantage point, it thus make no sense in calling them "true" when we have no good reason to.

Since it is quite justified to assume that there are infinite of imaginable things which are non-existent, this is "evident enough" for a believe that undetectable indisprovable possible-gods also do not exist to be held. Of course it need not be explicitly said since its a given - that there's always a negligible chance that the believe held does not match up to reality. But by the very fact that its existence is treated as "negligible", it would be thus very irrational to base our life and philosophy on something which have virtually no chance for it to be true.

Otherwise, anyone would be unnecessarily preoccupied or worried about something that they've imagined to be true but have absolutely no basis.

The point is, you and I do not have the ability to claim knowledge on certain unfalsifiable things. Hence for those things, we can (at most) only have faith and believe in them. Those things can never be part of knowledge. Nobody could justifiably said to know them.

Science have discovered: the accelerating expansion of the universe, neutrinos, sub-atomic particles, gravity waves, physics at relativistic and quantum regimes...all can not be directly seen, heard, or touched. They were indirectly detected and experienced. They are "experience" non-the-less. Postulation of a perfectly "invisible" in-measurable particle that is completely non-interacting and absolutely do not have any measurable effect is completely meaningless.

Through science we discover more and more about what out there in reality, effectively extending the reach of our senses to indirectly probe reality. Of course there are many things that might be part of reality, but are always beyond our reach even with science. IMO, so far, I only know of scientific means which real knowledge could be acquired.

To be fair, I must also add that we do also rely on believe and faith, based perhaps partially on knowledge and facts and do not critically evaluate them and rely on them as firmly as science does, in our everyday life. That is the realm of believe and faith. Some believes can be more justified than others, while some do not rely on evidence and facts at all, or are based on erroneous conclusions.

I think we ought to believe only that for which we have evidence to believe. This doesn't mean that other things for which we do not have evidence cannot exist nor does it mean that we will never know of the existence of these "other things." Tomorrow, for instance, it's possible that we will discover evidence that warrants a belief in the existence of a god. But while such a discovery is possible, the possibility of such a discovery is not a reason today to believe that a god exists.

Other people claim to be directly contacted by aliens directly by means that are undetectable by current technology on earth. Some people believe that they have direct contact with their dead ancestors. Etc. Your claim is not unique. Science cannot refute it. Common sense does.

Anyone can claim anything. But only evidence can make the claim known to be true.

For instance: Maybe you do encounter a ghost everyday. Maybe the crazy guy on the street corner really is being bombarded by alien messages. But only evidence can make any of this known. Without evidence to support the incredible tale that you tell, we're best off to not believe you -- even though all of you may be telling the truth.


To constrain one's belief to only that for which we have evidence means to forego belief in any possibly existing thing until and unless we have evidence for its existence. To do otherwise is the rankest sort of speculation, in my view, and usually degenerates into beliefs being held on the basis of what one wishes or hopes were the case rather than on the basis of their probably being true.

Last edited by aeondrift; 02-08-2009 at 02:25 AM.
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