2.c.9 – The experimental science differs from superstition?

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February 24, 2010 — Riccardo Sabellotti - Giacinto Sabellotti

superstizione

The experimental science differs from superstition?

For experimental science is meant all the amount of knowledge obtained using the experimental method; at present its validity is universally recognized, but not many people know what is its value; what distinguishes science from superstition? If we ask to a man why he daily reads his horoscope and why he believes in the validity of astrology, he will probably answer giving the two following basic reasons:
– because it works, as generally, according to his personal experience, the predictions made come true;
– because everybody reads the horoscope and then we all believe in it, is not just a personal opinion, but there is something objective and universally recognized.
If instead we ask why he believes in modern science, the answers will be of this type:
– because it works, because generally, as the direct experience confirms, the forecast of science come true: bulbs light up when the switch is pressed, the cars start moving when we turn the key;
– because everybody does, it also taught at school that we can trust science and therefore is something objective and universally recognized.
What then distinguishes science from superstition? For our average man nothing, absolutely nothing: science seems to be one more superstition and in his mind it is actually the way; in fact we know that every person lives in a world which is in large part imaginary and is then naturally superstitious and also is influenced by the public opinion as he is a highly social animal; the common people do not know why science is better than the old beliefs, but has no problems in accepting it like any new superstition even only vaguely plausible
This situation helps us to understand why many forms of superstition continue to survive despite the spread of scientific knowledge and how false beliefs that are attributed to science itself also spread: all of us have heard that in case of premature birth, it is better that the baby born in the  seventh month rather than in the eighth; most of us are convinced that this is a scientific truth confirmed by modern medicine, but it is not so; all the experimental data deny it and no doctor has ever tried, in reality it seems that it is an ancient belief dating back to the ancient philosophical school of Pythagoras, where the number seven was considered a lucky number. How come in these cases we can’t see the difference between a scientific assertion and one that is not? Simple, because we never do it, in fact to us only superstitions actually exist.
The difference between experimental science and more or less possible beliefs exists instead, it is substantial and is located in the famous experimental method, of which we talked so much, but that nobody knows; there are, however, also significant similarities due to their common origin i.e.  is the natural process by which the human brain produces knowledge. 

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