Reason and Science in Danger.

October 2020 Forums General discussion Reason and Science in Danger.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 333 total)
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  • #206668
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    David Attenborough may be in error as a Malthusian, but he remains a voice of sanity and science in a world where an insidious movement indeed is growing among the working class: conspiralunacy!
    We laugh at flat earthism and “Illuminati-ists”, but they are not funny. They attract susceptible minds – young minds – and damage them.
    We should be thankful for Attenborough and for DeGrasse Tyson, because there may not be many more sane scientific voices left, in a society where we not only need to make socialists but also, in the year 2020, to take up the same struggles fought by Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin.

    #206669
    LBird
    Participant

    Thomas More wrote: “…to take up the same struggles fought by Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin.

    Err… the class struggles fought on behalf of the bourgeoisie, and its making of our contemporary world?

    Both ‘reason’ and ‘science’ have a class component, so, as a democratic socialist, I’m all in favour of ‘Bourgeois Reason and Bourgeois Science‘ being ‘in Danger‘.

    Any apolitical, ahistorical and asocial ‘defence’ of ‘Reason and Science’ as being about ‘Objective Truth’, ‘Eternal Verity’ or ‘Absolute Knowledge’, places us into the hands of the bourgeois elite, and helps support capitalism.

    Of course, that is not to say there isn’t a danger from ‘conspiralunacy’, flat earthism and Illuminati-ists – and indeed postmodernism – but unless we locate the origins of ‘reason and science’ in an historical and social context, and the political forces involved in their creation, and why they did so, we risk becoming advocates of the mythical ‘politically neutral science’ which supposedly ‘impartially discovers the existing world’ by the agency of an elite of ‘disinterested scientists’.

    This is 2020, not 1820. Even by 1920, the myths of ‘Objective Science’ were obvious, to anyone who followed Physics, Mathematics and Logic. All three, as depicted in the 19th century, turned out to be untrue.

    Fighting mysticism by supporting elitism is not the answer: democratising ‘Reason and Science’ is.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by LBird.
    #206671
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    So socialism will change the laws of physics, the orbits of the planetary spheres, gravity, and biological descent through modification?
    These things are bourgeois and not valid once one embraces socialism?

    #206672
    LBird
    Participant

    Thomas More wrote: “So socialism will change the laws of physics, the orbits of the planetary spheres, gravity, and biological descent through modification?
    These things are bourgeois and not valid once one embraces socialism?

    Well, if not democratic humanity (‘socialism’), who will change all these things?

    Pannekoek, for example, mentioned that the so-called ‘laws of physics’ are a social product, and Marx held that our task is to change ‘nature’, not to ‘contemplate’ it.

    Of course, all the examples that you mention have changed, many times, throughout history, as different social classes have built a ‘universe’ in their interests, to their purposes. And, of course, each has claimed that their ‘universe’ is the one ‘True’ universe. The bourgeoisie, of course, are no different.

    It always surprises me that socialists seem to have no actual knowledge of physics, mathematics, logic, chemistry, etc. and how they actually originated and developed, and just where they are now.

    It’s almost as if these socialists believe the ruling class idea that the ‘Universe’ is just sitting there, waiting to be discovered, and that the bourgeoisie already know how to do this magic trick, and simply contemplate ‘what exists’.

    I’m not sure of your political view of ‘science’, Thomas, perhaps you do want to ‘contemplate’ what is ‘valid’, but personally I’m with Marx on this issue, and want to change ‘Our Universe’.

    Plus, ‘validity’ is a judgement, and thus contains an ethical element, and, within a socialist society, only the masses, not a self-selecting elite, will determine it.

    Our political choice is ‘Who changes the laws of physics?’ Either an undemocratic elite or a democratic majority. I know which I think socialism involves.

    The unchanging universe is a conservative construct. Why would socialists start from that premise, in their science?

    #206673
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    So humans decide, according to their class and time, how the planets move, whether a dropped fork will obey gravity, how suns are formed, and how far away they would like the sun to be?
    The universe obeys mankind?
    Did the universe exist before humans?

    And this is interesting, thank you.
    I now know the view of the SPGB.
    All best wishes. 🙂

    #206674
    ALB
    Participant

    That’s not the view of the SPGB but of some weirdo who frequents this forum. It’s open to anyone including weirdos.

    #206675
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    So what he says about Marx isn’t true?

    #206676
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Just to reiterate ALB’s point, L Bird is a non member who frequents these boards, due to the democratic and open nature of the party we do not close down those who we don’t agree with but attempt (sometimes very frustratingly) to engage them in debate.

    I also take on board your viewpoint on Attenborough, to some extent. The anti science movement appears to be backed by those elements of the capitalist class who are most endangered by recent scientific findings. Perhaps the growing anti science debate might actually be a positive thing, in as much as if this kind of propaganda is being put out there it must be because those who are threatened by the scientific evidence are feeling the heat. If the antibodies of reaction are active, perhaps the virus of revolution is in the air?

    #206677
    LBird
    Participant

    Thomas More wrote: “I now know the view of the SPGB.

    No, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick, Thomas.

    I’m a democratic communist and Marxist, very critical of the SPGB’s ‘materialism’ (which they share with Lenin), and the SPGB appears to agree with you.

    They too, sadly, are unable to engage in an informed discussion about 21st century science, and appear to be stuck in the pre-Marxian 18th century.

    ALB’s insulting reply, above, seems to be the heights that their ‘intellectuals’ aspire to.

    ALB, of course, knows all about these political and philosophical issues, but won’t defend his beliefs.

    Whenever he’s tried in the past, I’ve been able to prove him wrong, about Marx, Engels, Bogdanov, Pannekoek, etc. and physics, maths, philosophy, logic, so he’s given up being openly criticised, and turned to abuse. Just as Lenin did, to his critics, in his Materialism and EmpirioCriticism.

    The ‘materialist method’, apparently – personal abuse.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by LBird.
    #206678
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    As far as I can tell he is the only living person who interprets Marx in the way he does. That’s not to say he is not an affable at times interesting contributor, and he does have a sense of humour and irony, however he is not representative of our views.

    #206679
    LBird
    Participant

    Bijou Drains wrote: “…we do not close down those who we don’t agree with but attempt (sometimes very frustratingly) to engage them in debate

    Your memory seems to be letting you down once again on this thread, BD.

    I’ve been banned for a time, for the very thing ALB has done – personal abuse. The only difference is, I was returning it, not initiating it, like ALB.

    Still, I’ve learned. The SPGB bans those who respond to SPGB members’ abuse, so I don’t do that any more, and have to grin bear ALB’s insults. The power of the party, you see.

    As for ‘frustration’, it’s all mine! The SPGB, you included, refuse to engage in a discussion about ‘science’, and simply accept the bourgeois version.

    Well, it’s your party.

    #206681
    LBird
    Participant

    Thomas More wrote: “So what he says about Marx isn’t true?

    No, it’s entirely true. I can give you the quotes, if you wish (although I’ve given many quotes from many thinkers in the past, and they’ve had no effect upon the ‘materialists’ – it’s almost like a cult).

    #206682
    LBird
    Participant

    Bijou Drains wrote: “As far as I can tell he is the only living person who interprets Marx in the way he does. That’s not to say he is not an affable at times interesting contributor, and he does have a sense of humour and irony, however he is not representative of our views.

    Thanks for the nice personal assessment, BD!

    But.. you’re wrong again. I’ve posted dozens of names of authors since Labriola in 1896 (the earliest I can find, if we don’t include Marx himself “All I know is that I’m not a Marxist”). These cover not just Marxists/Socialists, but philosophers of science, like Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyerabend, and scientists like Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger, and more recent, Rovelli.

    So, lots of living and dead people think that science has problems, and lots of living and dead socialists think socialism must be democratic, including its science.

    Much of this happened before the SPGB was born in 1903, so just why it comes as a surprise, and worse, as an attack, beats me! 😛

    But of course, I certainly don’t ‘represent the SPGB’s views’. God forbid.

    #206683
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    By recent scientific discoveries, Bijou, do you mean climate change. Every conspiraloon I know of denies climate change – whilst blaming the oil companies of wanting us to believe in it!
    Yes! That is what they say.
    Obviously, it’s the other way.

    Or, do you mean the possibility of life (bacterial) in the clouds of Venus?

    #206684
    Thomas_More
    Participant

    L.Bird, Einstein didn’t believe in external reality?

    I believe science in socialism would be open to all, and scientists today are inaccessible to the masses, which has fuelled in part the populist anti-science movement of the conspiraloons. Individual scientists “went to the masses”, like Carl Sagan, Jacob Bronowski, Richard Leakey.

    Of course science will always have problems because it is open-ended and enquiring, which ideology is not.

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