Re: Fall of evolved man

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 14:43:29 -0500 (EST)

At 12:54 PM 11/11/97 -0800, Adrian Teo wrote:
>Moorad Alexanian wrote:

>> Dear Adrian,
>> Please include my post on your comments of it so that the issues are clear.
>> The comments I made is that subjects like social science and political
>> science should drop the word science and replace them with words like
>> studies. It is clear that the borrowing of the word science is to enhance
>> such studies to a status which they do not have. My comments were meant more
>> to clarify the subject matter and the way truth is established in different
>> forms of knowledge. It was not meant to denigrate any human effort to know.
>> The heavy, meaningful reliance of physics on mathematics is something that
>> is lacking in political and social studies. It is true that all the sciences
>> want to emulate physics. Of course, it is a historical accident that physics
>> developed first as the study of Nature with mathematics as the language of
>> that science.
>The point that I was trying to make was that there are other, equally
>valid sources of knowledge besides highly quantifiable studies on
>subjects matter such as physics, and paleontology is one of them.
>Science does not equal quantification and/or experimentation. Science is
>fundamentally a method of inquiry that is much broader in scope. I can
>show you many articles published in the social sciences that are based
>on sound statistical inferential methodology. These are all rightfully
>called science in the sense that they share the same method of inquiry,
>involving the generation and testing of falsifiable hypotheses,
>replication, and theory-revision. And much as you would like to believe,
>the other disciplines are not trying to emulate physics in other to gain
>some illusory status. What they are trying to do is to borrow
>strategies, techniques, data-modeling approaches from different
>disciplines which are appropriate for investigating the subject matter.

Dear Adrian,

In order to know man uses its reasoning power together with formal logic,
mathematics, historical propositions, etc. to develop theories in different
disciplines. However, the use of some of these elements is maximized in
physics because the subject matter is such that it can be quantified at its
very elementary level. [Of course, the level keeps going down into smaller
and smaller spatial dimensions, viz., nucleons, quarks, strings, and who
knows what next.] Such is not the case with social studies, for instance,
where the basic units are human beings which are very difficult to
quantify--they are immensely more complex than "dead" matter. It was in this
sense that I use physics as a prototype of science.

Take care,