Tuesday, June 05, 2012


A. Science is the most reliable way of knowing that humankind has yet devised.

It relies as much as possible on the experimental method, quantitative data, peer review, reproducibility, and the firm application of Ockham's Razor.

Scientific knowledge is consensus knowledge. In seeking consensus, it makes no reference to nationality, race, ethnicity, politics, religion or gender. Textbook science is universal.

Scientific knowledge is tentative and evolving. It chooses reliability over certainty. Science is radically open to marginal change, and marginally open to radical change.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Modern civilization is by and large the technological and economic offspring of science.

B. In those areas of knowing where a scientific consensus is difficult to obtain, such as history, economics and politics, the wise person adopts a cautious skepticism and in so far as possible seeks reliable quantitative evidence on which to base opinions, keeping in mind that one is prone to believe what one wishes to be true.

C. All claims of the miraculous are dubious, if not fraudulent. Science has yet to encounter any phenomenon that manifestly violates natural law, and many former claims of the miraculous -- such as the appearance of comets or visitations of disease -- have been shown to be natural events. It is a common human attribute to mistake coincidence for causality.

D. Huge realms of human experience are not amenable to scientific analysis, at least for the present, including perhaps the most important aspects of our lives. Nevertheless, scientific knowledge of the world enhances and broadens even those experiences that elude scientific description.

E. Our ignorance will always be greater than our knowledge. True knowledge comes in knowing what we do not know.