When scriptural truths are branded by scientists ‘pseudoscience’, how do rationalistic people put faith on them?
From: Chaitanya Poolla
Science is often understood as a system of ideas having a rational basis. When scriptural truths are branded by scientists ‘pseudoscience’, how do rationalistic people put faith on them? For example, reincarnation, astrology, some works of vedic creationists etc. fall into pseudoscience category (based on Wikipedia data)
1. On how the label ‘pseudo-science’ polarizes and paralyzes discussion:
Philosopher of science Larry Laudan (1983, p. 125) states, “If we would stand up and be counted on the side of reason, we ought to drop terms like ‘pseudo-science’ and ‘unscientific’ from our vocabulary; they are just hollow phrases which do only emotive work for us.”
Laudan, Larry (1983) The demise of the demarcation problem. In Cohen, R. S. and Laudan, L. eds. Physics, Philosophy, and Psychoanalysis. Dordrecht, D. Reidel, pp. 111-127.
2. On the difficulty in demarcating between science and pseudoscience illustrated through the conflict between pratyaksha (empiricism) and anumana (rationalism) within science from Substance and Shadow by Suhotra Swami:
Wolpert puts forward the oft-heard argument that a scientific theory ultimately counts for nothing if it does not measure up to what can be observed in nature.[i]* Yet he approvingly quotes Albert Einstein as saying that a theory is significant not to the degree it is confirmed by facts observed in nature, but to the degree it is simple and logical; and he quotes Arthur Eddington as saying that observations are not to be given much confidence unless they are confirmed by theory.[ii]*
[i]Lewis Wolpert, p. 118, The Unnatural Nature of Science.
[ii]Wolpert, pp. 99-100.
3. On the scientific credibility of reincarnation research done by Dr Ian Stevenson as quoted in Searching for Vedic India by Devamrita Swami:
Prestigious scientific periodicals such as the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology publish his findings.
Even the American Medical’ Association-unchallengeable in size, influence, and tradition–officially stated in its journal that Stevenson had “painstakingly and unemotionally collected a detailed series of cases in which the evidence for reincarnation is difficult to understand on any other grounds …. He has placed on record a large amount of data that cannot be ignored.”:”
4. On the scientific credibility of Vedic creationism research done by Drutakarma Prabhu (Dr Michael Cremo):
“So has Forbidden Archeology made any contribution at all to the literature on palaeoanthropology? Our answer is a guarded ‘yes’, for two reasons. First, while the authors go in for overkill in terms of swamping the reader with detail . . . much of the historical material they resurrect has not been scrutinized in such detail before. Second, . . . Cremo and Thompson do raise a central problematic regarding the lack of certainty in scientific ‘truth’ claims.” Jo Wodak and David Oldroyd, in Social Studies of Science, Vol. 26(1), 1996, p. 207.
“Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson are to be congratulated on spending eight years producing the only definitive, precise, exhaustive, and complete record of practically all the fossil finds of man, regardless of whether they fit the established scientific theories or not. To say that the research is painstaking is a wild understatement. No other book of this magnitude and calibre exists. It should be compulsory reading for every first year biology, archaeology, and anthropology student–and many others, too.” John Davidson, in International Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, August 1994, p. 28.