RE: [asa] astrology, ID & science

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Sun May 06 2007 - 12:11:50 EDT

I am sure astrologers do not consider humans to be mind/body/soul. For it they did, they would know that a soul is outside the purview of science---it cannot be detected with purely physical devices-and so their trade would never qualify as science.

 

A scientific theory, say of psychiatry or psychology, would be based on all sorts of measurements on human beings, purely physical measurements mind you, which will enable to diagnose most of the problems that they now treat. Electro sensitivity, hallucinations, fears, anxiety, etc. do have physical manifestations in a human being. These tests would be much like automobile diagnostic tests that enable mechanics to pinpoint what is wrong with a car. However, these tests would be probing only the physical at the exclusion of the nonphysical aspects of humans, i.e., self and consciousness.

 

However, the true nature of what humans are may be more necessary to help people truly realize what affects them and what has no physical foundation. Therefore, defining science as the study of the physical aspects of Nature shows the limitations of scientific studies or descriptions and forces practitioners of some disciplines to face the fact that people are more than cleverly arranged molecules.

 

Moorad

________________________________

From: Iain Strachan [mailto:igd.strachan@gmail.com]
Sent: Sat 5/5/2007 3:02 PM
To: Alexanian, Moorad
Cc: George Murphy; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] astrology, ID & science

On 5/5/07, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu> wrote:

        It is really not necessary to carry out your well-thought experiment to show that astrology is not a science since the concepts considered in the supposed predictions, viz., happiness, romantic success, etc., are not expressible in terms of purely physical concepts and so are not scientific terms. Just because something, say, happiness, can be quantified does not make it a scientific term since one cannot develop a scientific theory for it.

I think you have it the wrong way round. How do you know anyway that you can't develop a scientific theory for it? It is commonplace in clinical trials to use the subjective scoring method. For example a recent study on the supposed condition of "electrosensitivity" had people exposed to mobile phones (or sham exposure) for a long period, and to record the subjective severity of headache produced on a subjective score sheet of 0 to 100.

The outcome was that the curves produced were no different between the real exposure and the sham exposure. Now I have a friend who claims to be electrosensitive. As a physicist I can't see the sense in it or any real possibility of a scientific theory that means you are simultaneously sensitive to 50Hz mains (she switches off the mains in her house at night) and 900Mhz microwave radiation from mobile phones.

But if some carefully controlled double-blind study came up and showed a clear difference between real and sham exposure, then one would have to conclude there was an effect, due to a bit of science that we don't know about. It would be no use my saying there wasn't a scientific theory of how cells in your body are effected by EM exposures over 7 orders of magnitude in frequency range. We'd have to do reserch into finding out the physical mechanisms involved.

No such research is necessary because well-thought out tests have been conducted to show there is no difference between real and sham. Likewise, if my astrologer experiment showed a clear difference over "placebo", then we'd have to look into what caused the difference.

Isn't empirical science all about finding patterns (trends) and then searching for mechanisms to explain them?

Iain

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun May 6 12:12:38 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun May 06 2007 - 12:12:38 EDT