Science” comes from the latin word “sciencia” meaning knowledge. In English it has come to be shaped by one of two intellectual brassieres; The one, broadly understood is “Truth,” and refers to what everyone knows. The other, call it “empirical science,” refers to the process of debunking nonsense and error. These two entities exist in a kind of intellectual codependency. Libertarians can up their game by “defining and distinguishing always” between these concepts.
The first kind, truth is the totality of what is “known” or commonly believed. You can find written descriptions by googling anything that you think may have come to someone’s attention. I suspect that the AI mumbo jumbo means that the software reaches out to grab anything that is already “known.” This kind of science ranges from useful and vetted reliable dogma that was derived from the empiricism that gives the word “science” its unassailable clout to magic. We trust in the physical sciences like mechanics, the cell theory in biology or molecular theory. It is the science used in engineering and in the work world.
Another body of knowledge concerns conventions, like driving on the right side of the road or of using double entry book keeping. I have no problem viewing religion, the common law and the social conventions of a culture as useful knowledge.
Beyond this knowledge degenerates. The social sciences- psychology, sociology, management theory, economics, drug rehab, economics and the like start with a few observations that may or may not be well founded but are then elaborated by bulking them up with hard to refute assertions and then pasting the fluff together with statistical scams. These are the fantasies of the academy; people are making good money misleading everyone else. Related are political scams like global warming, the wars on terror, drugs, poverty and international relations. The whole covid 19 snow job with its “science” was cobbled together from theories that were never tested and yet were enforced and funded by governments. Profiteering underlays most of this science. Mencken’s phrase, “Keep the yokels scared and the money never stops.” sums up the prosperity of these “experts.” They control the media, government, education establishments and money.
There is an even more degraded kind of knowledge, that of superstition. The rabbit’s foot, lucky numbers, gambling, witches, the whole body of unfounded magic, fate, ghosts, astrology, fortune telling actually guides the lives of most of mankind.
This “truth” kind of science encompasses all human consciousness, it is considered to be “trusted” and fills up the internet. It guides civilizations and often creates wealth. A problem, IMHO, is that it has no mechanism for changing beliefs or ways of doing things. It leads inexorably to stagnation. This stuff, except for the hard sciences of physics, chemistry and biology has never been vetted.
I call this kind of knowledge Asiatic science. Korea/Japan/China, produce millions of STEM graduates a year. These boast top rated public education and economic progress. Korea/Japan/China with their excellent schools, smart and hard working people lead the world in knowing “truth”but never let an asiatic talk to you about his luck at gambling, boosting his manhood with tiger gall bladders or with unlucky numbers.
Empirical science, the other kind, is contentious. It is full of arguments and populated with disagreeable people. Everyone is trying to upset the apple cart. The individuals who indulge in empirical science are usually extremely bright, highly trained and motivated. They make an observation from what actually occurs in nature, think “bulls…” and formulate some sort of alternate explanation called hypotheses. This empirical part of this science grows out of making predictions based on these hypotheses, generating experiments or in other cases focused observation of the phenomenon. (All of these take time, you can’t say that Covid 19 shots are safe after 3 months observation.) If the experiment or observations do not support the hypothesis the hypothesis is rejected. If it is found to be consistent with the hypothesis then the hypothesis is merely supported. After many successful iterations of observations and experiments an hypothesis might finally advance to be termed a theory. Theories imply reproducible results, and are the basis for engineering and many of our Industrial production procedures.
Empirical scientists at the jet propulsion laboratory are still trying to debunk Einstein’s theory of relativity. Others, at the Max Planck Institute and in Cambridge are trying to undermine Watson and Crick’s theories on the helical DNA molecule. The experiments and observations that these scientists make often flesh out the underlying theories but the fun starts when these guys manage to upset everything. They risk being shunned or even canceled. But the new and “threatening to the settled science” insights are explored by younger scientists and over the years come to be more deeply researched and finally accepted.
You do not have to be credentialed to be a scientist; any layman can understand that the 2005 climate change mob’s prediction of endless hurricanes or of Krugman’s multiple predictions of economic catastrophe serve to debunk these as areas of empirical knowledge.
In this kind of science there is no truth. I have read and even written scientific medical literature for 50 years and have never seen the word “proof” used. “Expert opinion” and “consensus”are not part of the conversation in empirical science but are proclamations that we don’t know much about the topic.
We can distinguish the first kind of science which encompasses all of knowledge, “truth” and which incidentally produces profit from the empirical kind which is characterized by uncertainty, contention and not much profit because the latter is populated by Nobel prize winners. Nobel prizes are usually awarded with a lag time of decades as we are seeing with this last batch of announcements. There ain’t much money in splitting a million with a few others when you are in your eighties.
Nobelist have generally mastered their areas of expertise, are troubled by inconsistencies in the accepted narrative, can formulate alternative hypotheses and finally marshal the resources to do experiments and make observations. This kind of science is never settled. It upsets people and people’s lives but it does produce major advances of civilization.
I call this empirical science Anglo-Saxon science. Let me explain.
We can use who wins Nobels as an index. (I realize that many economic, literature and peace prizes are pretentious muddles.) Wikipedia lists Nobelists by country.
The top three are;
USA – 411
Germany – 115
No one else comes near to breaking into the three digit club. It’s an Anglo Saxon lock.
Here are the number of Nobelist in countries with excellent school systems and millions of STEM graduates.
China, (PRC)- 9.
The Chinese/Japanese/Koreans can reproduce any product and even improve many; turns out it’s profitable. But they are apparently not interested or maybe unable to say bulls… about what they have worked hard to know.
I only wish to point out that there are differences between Anglo Saxon and Asiatic science. I don’t want to speculate about why this has happened. Attempting to explain would lump me in with pseudoscientists in the academy who know everything. I just noticed the dearth of Asiatic names in last October’s announcements and happened upon the Wikipedia article. The differences between the types of knowledge and where they thrive seemed worth exploring…..