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MicroscopePhilosophy of Science

As Kant first pointed out several centuries ago, no one really sees the world as it actually is. Instead, the observer always puts on a ‘set of glasses’ to look at his environment, an inherent bias that filters what he sees.

The bias of science is called the scientific method. There are various ways of describing this method, but they all contain the following elements:

  • The starting point is observation. Math starts with theory. Science uses the raw material of experience.
  • Observation leads to analysis. We all know that looks can be deceiving and that personal bias is a major problem. Analysis uses logic to look for the solid facts that lie behind experience.
  • Hypothesis takes the facts that have been gathered and tries to come up with a general theory that can explain them.
  • A theory needs to be tested. This is done by using the theory to come up with a prediction. If this prediction matches reality, then the theory has survived testing. But, if reality contradicts the prediction, then either the theory needs to be revised or else more careful observation is required.
  • ·Finally, a theory can be expanded through experimentation, or applied through technology.

Each of these steps corresponds to the function of one of the modes of the mind:

Observation fills Mercy strategy with raw experiences. These experiences all come with an associated emotional label.

Analysis uses Perceiver thought to organize Mercy experiences into objects. Science knows that Perceiver logic is very difficult when Mercy feelings are strong. Therefore, it tries to protect Perceiver thought by avoiding Mercy feelings.

Hypothesis takes a collection of Perceiver facts and organizes them into a universal Teacher theory. This is an emotional process; it feels good to have a general theory.

Testing is necessary precisely because general theories are emotional. When a person comes up with a hypothesis, it makes him feel bad when this hypothesis crumbles. Therefore, it is very important to test this theory with facts.

Because Teacher feelings tend to get in the way, the scientific method tries to check a theory using peer review, in which the theory is checked by people who have the same Perceiver facts but different Teacher theories. Because they do not have the same theoretical ‘axe to grind’, it is assumed that they will be able to test a theory objectively and rationally.

Experimentation and technology are ways of adding Server stability to Teacher theories, for they both perform actions that are consistent with general understanding. The end result is a new internal structure—a better way of interacting with the natural world.  

The approach that I have taken modifies this method in three critical ways:

1) Perceiver Confidence: Science is highly suspicious of personal bias. This is a valid concern, for it is very difficult to work out the facts when personal feelings are involved. Science ‘solves’ this problem by remaining objective, limiting its observation to the natural world of objects and physical sensation.

Unfortunately, whenever people are involved, personal bias will always end up creeping in. Scientists like to pretend that they can be objective, but if you spend any time on a university, you will realize that politics and personal status play a huge role. And, not many scientists will study a field if it is not popular or if they cannot receive adequate funding.

The alternative is to develop the Perceiver confidence that is needed to handle Mercy feelings. In other words, logical thought is protected not by avoiding feelings, but rather by gaining the ability to use logic in the midst of emotions. This allows the scientific method to be extended to the subjective and not just limited to the world of the objective.

2) Server Confidence: Actions can contaminate results. Whenever I measure something or perform an experiment, I am actually tampering and interfering with what is happening. Therefore, when I see something happen, is it really happening, or is it simply responding to what I am doing?

Science tries to avoid tampering by being an observer, watching from a distance. However, quantum mechanics has discovered that pure observation is impossible. Instead, the very act of observing and measuring something will itself disturb what I am trying to measure.

The alternative is to choose to perform actions that are consistent with my theory. The theory of mental symmetry tells us that Server actions create corresponding non-verbal theories within Teacher thought. So, instead of trying to avoid this effect by remaining the disinvolved observer, why not use it to our advantage. If I have a general hypothesis and I apply this hypothesis through some sort of practical application, then my actions will clarify my thoughts. They will channel my theorizing along certain paths.

3) The Internal World: Science limits its method to the external,natural world. Why? First, because the external natural world appears to obey the laws of space and time. Second, because the scientific method ensures that the mind approaches the external world rationally and logically.

But, we have just seen that the internal world is subject to its own laws of ‘space and time’: Mercy strategy fills with experiences from the external world; Perceiver strategy looks for spatial connections between Mercy experiences; and Server strategy strings these objects into sequences that occur over time. Finally, Teacher strategy analyzes this internal content for universal principles of order and structure. This means that the internal world is also a valid field of study.

But, what ensures that the scientific method will be adhered to when studying the internal world? Perceiver, Server, and Contributor confidence. Perceiver confidence makes it possible to hold on to facts amidst emotional pressure; Server confidence is the ability to act in ways that are consistent with theoretical understanding; and Contributor confidence looks for cause and effect and assigns meanings to words. If my level of confidence is sufficient in these three areas, then my thinking will be consistent with the scientific method.

But what if I think scientifically and others do not? Then their thinking will be warped in specific ways that reflect the structure of the mind and it will be possible for me to use scientific thought to logically understand what is happening.

Notice that this solves the ‘transcendental problems’ posed by Immanuel Kant. He said that when the mind analyzes the world, it automatically imposes certain assumptions upon its observations: It assumes that objects remain solid over time; it assumes that there is cause and effect; it assumes that there is time; and it assumes that there are principles of general understanding. The theory of mental symmetry says that each of these assumptions corresponds to the operation of a mental mode of thought.

This also clarifies the relationship between science, morality and Christianity. Science applies the scientific method to the natural, external world. Christianity leads a person to the mental wholeness that is required to apply this method and to extend it to the internal realm of thought and feelings. Finally, morality defines the limitations that I must place upon my mind and my body in order to preserve and enhance my ability to think scientifically.