Scientific "blind spots"

This is a big one, take some time with it. The first time I heard it, I didn’t quite get it right. I have more notes, but I’m going to just put up a couple.

Evan starts defining his term, “blind spot” after 11 minutes. It’s an analogy, our eye’s blind spot is that place where the nerves exit the retina, giving us the ability to see. I remember being told how to find the spot, but even after you know it’s there, you don’t notice it. Our scientific worldview also has something about that makes science possible, but we are told science is the best way of knowing, so our teachers don’t tell us how to find it.

Evan refers to this as “direct experience”, or “intuition”. Before you react, remember that I have spoken strongly against this as an alternative or even a reasonable option. Usually, it is brought up by someone who claims they are a shaman, or they can communicate with aliens, or just someone who prefers Gaia hypothesis. So, hang in there, the key here is to integrate the direct with the methods of science.

The motivation to do that is, is that without the experiences that we have lived, science would not have arisen. We were around for a long, we made the same arrowheads for over a million years, then we started developing these methods. Some of that development has been at the expense of experiencing nature, of appreciating it. We saw some forces common throughout nature, so we improved our precision in how we looked at those forces, but then we left nature behind, and reality became the description of reality, not the reality that is the natural world. That takes about 5 minutes for him to go through.

What really interests me is the application to science denialism. I’ve seen the psychology of it, how people learn something different from what they were taught as children or something considered mainstream science, and they apply it across the board, saying all education is wrong or all science is lies. Or, they see science being held up on a pedestal as the greatest method ever but they don’t experience the world as formulas and don’t divide their world into biology, anthropology, and chemistry. These deniers are onto something, they intuitively feel something missing, but they don’t know how to find it.

As a journalist put it, a clock tells time, but it doesn’t tell us what time is. We don’t examine a clock to understand time. It was the experience of time that led to us making clocks. In the same way, we shouldn’t be looking to science to tell us how to experience the world. Even the methods themselves presuppose having something you can’t state in terms of a method.

After a bit Vervaeke gets into how religion fits in with this. Evan hadn’t thought about that, so the conversation floats around, that “hard problem” is touched on, but isn’t central. Anyway, enjoy.

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I will check it out when I have time.