Science Is Dogmatic: When Scientists Saw a Phantom Planet That Never Existed – Muslim Skeptic

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This is the third installment in a series of articles on the history and philosophy of science. See here b first And second Articles in this series.

Religion is dogmatic. It is not science. So is the conventional narrative.

However, science has various methods to protect theories from falsification. Science resists change. Science is dogmatic. To further illustrate this point, let’s examine a funny incident in contemporary history.

The Newtonian model generated predictive power unmatched in the history of science. Newton’s laws were applicable to all areas of the universe. However, for some time, there was growing unease in the scientific community when the peculiarities of Mercury’s orbit could not be accounted for by Newtonian physics. In the year In 1859, Urbain Le Verrier’s calculations showed the pre-discovery of Mercury’s perihelion—the gradual rotation of the point in an orbit closer to the Sun—with ease. could not Newton’s Laws of Gravitation and Motion will be discussed. Simply put, certain aspects of Mercury’s orbit cannot be explained by Newtonian physics.

Did scientists try to disprove Newton’s theory of physics? What happens when you encounter unusual situations in scientific theory? Do scientists hang up their gloves and rush to falsify a theory?

Quite the opposite actually.

Not attributing the error to Newtonian physics, but in an effort to explain these irreconcilable differences, scientists created a hypothetical planet between Mercury and the Sun. This planet is not just a theory, many searches have been done to try to find it. This has indeed led to many so-called sightings of this planet. One of the observations made by a French astronomer led. Le Verrier announces that the long-sought-after planet he named “Vulcan” has finally been discovered. The inter-mercurial planet identities were confirmed by experienced observers such as Watson and Swift, who between them discovered 20 asteroids and also named many comets after them. In this way, Newton’s theory of gravity was brought back from the brink of certain death.

Half a century of searching for Vulcan, which consumed the minds of the scientific community, was finally thwarted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Einsteinian physics could explain Mercury’s orbit without Vulcan, this outer inter-Mercurial planet. Today, Vulcan is completely dismissed as a planet by scientific consensus – it simply never existed.

But how can this be? What about all the views?

We are not talking about microscopic cells or tiny subatomic particles. We are talking about an entire planetary body that has been observed by many credible scientists.

Two important questions arise from this incident:

  1. Now that we have irrefutable proof that Newton was wrong, why don’t scientists come out and completely reject the Newtonian theory?
  2. How did all these scientists “see” a planet that was never seen in the first place?

Related: Secular western scientists now believe in aliens… so what about genes?

The common man is led to believe that scientists “just follow the data.” When “data” contradicts an existing scientific theory, you think the theory will be thrown aside and rejected. This is simply not true.

This story is an example of how epistemic holism can revive dead scientific theories.

Epistemic holism is the idea that a theory should be viewed as “whole”; No single observation or empirical test can falsify a theory by itself. A scientific theory cannot be tested in isolation because it is embedded in a whole web of belief. The problem with this is that it allows theories that should have died to rise instead. This is because you can make a few adjustments to any part of your web of belief to prevent a theory from being rejected. Does Mercury’s orbit make no sense? Not because Newton was wrong—not really. There must be another planet where we don’t know about gravity.

In this way, the scientist can hold fast to his fixed beliefs. In this way, science is resistant to change and dogmatic. Only when a large number of anomalies accumulate and are sufficiently attacked against a scientific theory can we achieve what the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn called a “crisis of paradigms.” New theories are built only in such a crisis.

Look at the following image and tell me what you see:


When I put this question to my brother, he said he saw a mosquito. Others just say they see a bunch of gray spots.

On the other hand, my eyes see the synaptic cleft where two neurons meet. I see a complex system of neurotransmitters and nerve vesicles.

However, there is an undeniable problem. My years of scientific education have taught me a great deal about neurophysiology, language, and the theory of preconceptions about how this microscopic world works. When I look at this picture, I bring all these assumptions to the table with me. I will not deny it with objective eyes. Rather, these eyes of mine are prepared by meaning.

Related: Secular Education: Avoiding the Yellow Brick Road

Another way of saying this is that it is not a statement of the truth that I am observing when I look at this image. My observation is theoretical. I see it through the lens of the currently accepted neurophysiological model. We can go further and say that all observations are theory-laden. Even the simple act of using a microscope to look at a microscope requires confidence in its ability to produce reliable images, and we can only do this if we plan the whole light and optics concept of the microscope. It was built.

This conceptual burden of all observations helps us understand how scientists were able to “see” a planet they never knew existed.

A popular belief is that scientists “follow the data.” This view is fundamentally wrong, because it assumes that the scientist is an objective observer of the universe. Our earlier experience of looking at the picture of the synapse shows how this is impossible, because all observations are filtered through the lens of the original scientific paradigm. This theory means that all observations are simply not realistic in the eyes of the scientific observer.

This is why you can “get” anything you want. That’s how half a century of scientists somehow “saw” an entire planetary body like Vulcan that never existed. It would be inaccurate and too simplistic to conclude that they all made claims of seeing Vulcan. When Mercury’s unique orbit could not be explained, scientists operating within the Newtonian paradigm assumed that, according to Newton’s laws, there must be an exoplanet of Mercury exerting a gravitational influence. This presupposition was pre-loaded in all experiments and observations of celestial bodies, and this culminated in the so-called Vulcan sightings.

In the pastWe have looked at the pessimistic meta-induction argument to show the weakness of science as a method of explaining reality. For the most part, we’ve looked at examples of tiny ontological entities (phlogiston, ether, etc.) that scientists invent and discard that are invisible to the human eye. Vulcan’s history is a particularly harrowing account of how entire planetary bodies are conceived, observed, and abandoned.

It is another example of why pre-modern Muslim scholars such as Baghdad regarded scientific knowledge as such. Ilm al-Hann. (approximate knowledge).

It is almost impossible for the eye of the human observer to be truly objective. This is another reason why human rationality is not easy. The last one criteria for determining truth; We need an epistemology derived from real objectivity – we need the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Only God’s knowledge can include absolute truth and objectivity. If all observations are, by their very nature, theory-laden, then our lens, the Islamic paradigm, undoubtedly is. So it’s funny that we meet some of the Muslims of his time. Too much science And Leave the divine revelation In support of secular atheist scientific theories.

Related: Islam and Science in Conflict: Defining the Reality



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