Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Simple Answer To a Bitter Complaint About The Statement Of a Simple Fact

It is a simple fact that no scientists could come to their understanding of science, founded on science.  That understanding is founded on language, on common sense understanding of the world through the most pedestrian of human experience, it is a product of expectations developed through those.  Those are not based in science. A child would have to have had an understanding of science before they learned the first thing about science if that were not the case.  The same is true of logic and mathematics, on which science depends but which are also not present in a person's mind before they are first learned about the world, through their "subjective" experience. 

All of those depend on raw human experience, on raw human observation even on raw human minds before verbal articulation is present in it.   Even in the understanding of language as an innate human faculty, if, through some kind of sensory deprivation, the experiences that lead to language developing, that potential won't be fulfilled.   The thankfully rare case of "Genie" a child entirely deprived of the necessary experience by an abusive father would seem to never be able to develop speech so speech, as well, despite existing as a potential, depends on having raw experience to exist as a human faculty.   

None of this is surprising when it comes to something like language which is so commonly held by people but it seems to surprise people when it's a matter of science.  There is nothing prestigious in learning to talk.  

I suspect it is prestige of scientific knowledge,  the status the scientist is given and the relative rarity of scientific knowledge, of its association with sophisticated adults that leads to the irrational disconnect between its acquisition and the earliest experience on which the disconnection with this obvious truth rests.   I think that the proud adults who have obtained the advanced degrees to have a career in science don't like to be reminded of that fact, that the attainments of their post-doc years rests on the experiences of their first two years anymore than an eleven year old likes to have their peers see their baby pictures.    Oddly, the very greatest geniuses of science, Newton, Einstein, don't seem to be embarrassed by the fact that their great thoughts are based in the experience of earliest childhood, that would seem to be more embarrassing to those whose accomplishments are somewhat more modest.   Perhaps arrogance is a compensatory comfort they allow themselves due to that modest accomplishment.  It seems to be most prominent in the shallower thinkers.  

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