Can we Separate Science from Ideology – No

“In its broadest sense, science (from the Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) refers to any systematic knowledge or practice. In its more usual restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.”-

Epistemologically, this description of science refers to propositional knowledge (knowledge-that) instead of “a justified true belief” view of knowledge (knowledge-how). Many epistemologists feel that epistemology should evaluate people’s properties instead of propositions’ properties. However, experiments derived using the scientific method result in “knowledge-how,” for example, “knowing that” 2 + 2 = 4, is not the same as “knowing-how” to add numbers. Many philosophers also feel there is an important distinction between “knowing-that” and “knowing-how,” with epistemology primarily interested in the former (Wikipedia-Epistemology).

Knowing that two and two equals four is not the same as knowing how to do mathematics, yet the two are intrinsic to applied mathematics although not necessarily to knowledge of mathematics. These distinctions are important, for if we are to presume players of games like Jeopardy where enthusiasts of trivia possess knowledge, do have knowledge; they differ from those who also can manipulate systems like mathematics only by degree of knowledge in a specific discipline.

Similarly, there are those who know of science without actually doing science and it is not necessary to derive their knowledge of science by methods of induction, deduction, or analogy. Simply, they need not use the scientific method in order to derive their “knowing of” science. Yet, others (scientists) do science through induction, deduction, and analogy by using the scientific method daily.

“Epistemology should evaluate people’s properties (i.e., intellectual virtues) instead of propositions’ properties. This is, in short, because higher forms of cognitive success (i.e., understanding) involve non veritic features that cannot be evaluated from a justified true belief view of knowledge” (Wikipedia-Epistemology). This distinction if viewed in the strictest epistemological sense would make those who “know that” science exists have a deeper fundamental cognitive sense of “what” science “is” than those who daily derive answers through “knowing how” science is applied.

Galileo, Kepler, and Newton provide evidence of the fundamental flaw in this ontological application through experimental demonstration that the Aristotelian view of a Geocentric Universe is wrong. Simply “knowing-that” the Sun appears to rotate around the Earth is insufficient for evidence, yet “knowing-how” to determine the Earth revolves around the Sun and proving it through experiments involving deductive reason confirms a fundamental cognitive sense of “what” science “is” and provides a deeper sense of understanding about the world we live in.

This does not intend to detract from either propositional knowledge or imply one area like the “know-that” group is loftier than the “know-how” group. The point is merely to illustrate the tautological dilemma derived from the strict application of the mechanics of epistemological analogy. It is important to note that were the illustration above not in error (Aristotle’s Geocentric Universe); there would be no reason for the discipline of science.

That is what science is, a discipline, and the dilemma posed by the title of this discussion is known as the “Problem of Demarcation” dealing with the problem of personal bias when attempting to derive (empirically) factual evidence regarding the world that surrounds us. This makes science itself an ideology. Attempts at deriving factual evidence from the scientific method are deemed to be more reliable than merely “knowing-that” the Sun revolves around the Earth because we see that it does. This also follows the fundamental precepts of “Logical Positivism” and “The Vienna Circle”- ( See also Karl Popper “Falsificationism” and Thomas Kuhn “Postpostivism”

The ideology of the scientific method consists of certain empirical methods in which to derive information without influencing those methods with human intervention or perception. The degree and extent to which this is plausible is where the argument continues unresolved. This stems from the development of a hypothesis, which the scientist must determine the outcome and either prove it true or prove it false.

Since it is beyond the scope of this debate to elaborate extensively upon the tautological element of bias, and how it can influence scientific evidence, this document will not dilute the impact of the point being illustrated. That is, that science is a discipline and as a discipline, it is founded upon ideological precepts, which define how it is to be done, precepts, which are standardized in order to enable other scientists to reproduce the same results under the same circumstances every time the event is displayed.

These very same circumstances play out repeatedly in mathematics with Gdel’s incompleteness theorem, in physics with the Copenhagen interpretation and the uncertainty principal, and in philosophy with the mind-body problem and rationalism verses empiricism.

Finally, in science with the “Problem of Demarcation,” or simply, “where do we draw the line;” in this circumstance, we cannot separate an ideology from an ideology. A simple analogy being, “To suggest that love be unconditional is to place upon it a condition.”Yardbyrd’s Proverb #5