The Instigator
CivilianName295
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Sarah9019a
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Is science the only path to knowledge and truth?

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Post Voting Period
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after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 873 times Debate No: 100833
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

CivilianName295

Con

I will be arguing that science is NOT the only path to knowledge and truth and that there are other ways we can know things. I will be arguing against the philosophy of scientism (the belief that science is the only way to knowledge). (Pro) will be arguing that science is the only path to knowledge.

Rules: keep debate on topic and make logical arguments and no name calling

Round 1: accepting rules and conditions
Round 2 Each side giving case for and against scientism
Round 3: Each side giving rebuttles
Round 4: Each side giving final arguments and closing statements

Just to let my readers know I'm not arguing against science I'm arguing against scientism since science and scientism are not the same thing
Sarah9019a

Pro

I will argue for the side that science is the sole path to knowledge and truth. Good luck to my opponent, and thanks for a good debate!
Debate Round No. 1
CivilianName295

Con

I will now give the case against scientism. Now this will not be long since it's very easy to refute scientism.

1. Argument from Godel's incompleteness theorem.
According to this theorem in order to prove something it must be proved from outside the logical system this means that you cannot use circular reasoning to prove something and that everything science, logic, reason, mathematics and basically all forms of knowledge depends on it and it applies to anything that uses the laws of logic. Scientism violates this theorem since it assumes that science can be proven using science which in itself is self refuting since you cannot prove the scientific method using the scientific method it's circular reasoning. That's why science is completely dependent on philosophy to make truth claims. Nearly all scientific laws are based on inductive reasoning. All of science rests on an assumption that the universe is orderly, logical and mathematical based on fixed discoverable laws. You cannot PROVE this. (You can"t prove that the sun will come up tomorrow morning either.) You literally have to take it on faith. In fact most people don"t know that outside the science circle is a philosophy circle. Science is based on philosophical assumptions that you cannot scientifically prove. Actually, the scientific method cannot prove, it can only infer.

2. Argument from epistemology
Epistemology is the philosophy of knowledge and knowing things this applies to everything in life. Scientism violates knowledge in that it cannot justify why anything it claims is true. That's because according to scientism science is the only truth however if there is no way to prove that science is the only way truth then it's based again on circular reasoning. And not only that but if we apply cartesian skepticism to scientism then nothing scientism claims can be true since you can doubt and reject everything it says.

3. Scientism is self refuting
Scientism claims to be true but if scientism is true then it must be proved using science which is self refuting since science is based on inductive reasoning when you do an expirament 100 times and get the same results then something is considered "scientifically proven" but you can't scientifically prove scientism since scientism itself is a philosophical position and not scientific. But wait if scientism is philosophical then it's not based on science but philosophy but if scientism is not based on science then it's self refuting since scientism claims that science is the only way to truth and scientism is a philosophical position and it scientific in anyways (which refutes scientism again) so no madder how you look at it scientism is self refuting.
(1) http://cosmicfingerprints.com...
(2) https://plato.stanford.edu...
(3) https://www.princeton.edu...
(4) http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
Sarah9019a

Pro

I will begin by defining science. Science is "knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation" (Merriam-Webster). Thus, science is composed of OBSERVATIONS and EXPERIMENTS. Observations are what we can see, hear, etc. and determine correlative relationships. Observations do not have to be proven because anyone can easily see them. Experiments determine cause and effect and must be proven.

The foundation for experimentation is observation. So, to study physics we must accept, say, that gravity exists. We can't prove that gravity exists, but it is accepted as everyone can feel its effect. "Gravity exists" is an observation, and is scientific.

Burdens: I must only prove that science is the sole path to knowledge and truth. That means my opponent must prove that there is another path. Disproving science is not sufficient, rather they must actively prove another path. That's not possible because to prove anything we must rely on either experiments or observations, and thus science.

I meet my burdens:
Knowledge: "Facts, information, and skills" (Merriam-Webster). Facts and information are gained through observation, and when that fails, experimentation. Skills are gained through observation, for example a baby learning to talk.
Truth: "That which is in accordance with fact or reality" (Merriam-Webster). We prove something is real by observing it. If you question that anything exists, the entire foundation of this debate is impossible. We assume things exist because observation works. If you don't buy that, there is no way to know anything, science or otherwise.

Furthermore, there are two options: scientism true and scientism false. Scientism cannot be false as proving it false requires knowledge gained through science to disprove it, which actually proves it true. The only remaining option is that scientism is true.

My opponent conceded in round one they were not arguing against science. Good--they accept that observation and experimentation are good for gaining knowledge.

There are two simple reasons why I should win.
1) To prove science fails, you have to use science. Proof in and of itself relies on science. Thus, to prove scientism wrong requires scientific explanation, which in and of itself proves scientism correct. You cannot prove anything without science, thus science is the only path to knowledge and truth.
2) I meet my burdens. They don't meet theirs. My opponent has failed to give a single way besides science thwe find knowledge and truth.

On to my opponent's arguments:
1) Godel's incompleteness theorem was created through logic. Logic stems from observations and thus from science. This argument is founded in science, once again showing that my opponent cannot show any other way to prove things as they keep proving things though science. It also says itself that the theorem cannot be proven. They put so much emphasis on proof, we should not look to their own argument which cannot be proven.
Their argument that science proves scientism is not even bad under the incompleteness theorem. Scientism does not prove scientism, rather science proves scientism. If you don't buy that, reason and logic prove scientism, and disproving it requires showing another way of knowing things independent of science.
They argue you can't prove the universe is based on discoverable laws. Obviously, but science tries to discover those laws and understand the world. Science does not "take on faith" that the universe is logical, but rather it tries to prove that it is. In fact, it has had a lot of success: Theory of Relativity, four major forces, quantum physics, and String Theory.

2) They argue there is no way to prove science is true. Um. . .by my definition of truth it necessarily is. If an experiment is replicatable and provides converging evidence, we assume accuracy. I'll ask my opponent how they want to find truth if not through observation and evidence? Furthermore, the source provided about epistemiology uses scientific evidence and reason to show it true, so even my opponent's own arguments against science are founded in science.

3) They argue scientism is philosophical and not scientific and thus false. This doesn't even make sense. Science can prove philosophical theories. Some examples: determinism is true, logical moral intuitions are consequentialist and emotional ones are deontological, etc. (sources upon request). Science can prove philosophy. Also, philosophy is a product of logic and reasoning, which stem from observations. Why is justice good? Because we observe injustice and observe its harms. Science can prove scientism through logic and observation.
Also from my opponent's own Reasonable Faith source: "Scientism has been always been successful in the past; any supernaturalistic explanations used by our progenitors have been replaced by naturalistic explanations. Never has a supernaturalistic explanation superseded a naturalistic one. Since the predictions of scientism have always been later confirmed directly by the evidence, this amounts to a good inductive argument for scientism. So Craig is wrong that scientism cannot be scientifically proven because scientism's own success and adoption by scientists serves as evidence for its truth." Thanks for providing a source that actually supports my side.

Another refutation of their arguments is that they argue using science. If there is another way of knowing things, please argue for it without using science. Otherwise we default to science as the only path to knowledge.

For all these reasons, vote pro! Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
CivilianName295

Con

So before i give my response the (Pro) has violated the debate stricture that i set up in round 1. this was it
Round 1: accepting rules and conditions
Round 2 Each side giving case for and against scientism
Round 3: Each side giving rebuttles
Round 4: Each side giving final arguments and closing statements
My opponent has done round 2 and 3 in the same round since they have also given a rebuttal to my arguments something that your supposed to do round 3 and not round 2 so for that reason i believe since my opponent did 2 rounds in one i will respond to her rebuttal as well so now that ive made that clear i will now refute my opponents arguments.

I agree with my opponents definition of science but i will respond to the following arguments.
(Pro) "my opponent must prove that there is another path. Disproving science is not sufficient, rather they must actively prove another path. That's not possible because to prove anything we must rely on either experiments or observations, and thus science."

Response: There are many things we accept as true that cannot be scientifically proven. Science works through inductive methods we do an experiment 100 times and if we get the same result every time then we say its scientifically proven and that we will always get the same result however for many subjects we cannot use the same method to reach a conclusion for example in mathematics we cant do observations and experiments to prove things in mathematics we have to use mathematical theorems to do that and those theorems dont depend on scientific laws to be correct they depend on mathematical formulas which themselves are not at all scientific. Another example is forensics if we look at a crime scene and find someone dead we cannot say "Lets run the experiment again and see what happened" such a method is absurd to figure out who the murder is instead we have to deduce a conclusion from the evidence left at the crime scene and reach a logical conclusion so then we have to apply the methodology that is appropriate to the claim so in subjects like history, forensics, philosophy, mathematics etc we cannot run experiments and use the scientific method to reach a conclusion. This is why many questions like "Why does the universe exist? or "What is the purpose of life" or "What is good and evil" are not scientific questions they are philosophical questions that cannot be answered using purely science. So then science is not the ONLY path to knowledge its very important in learning about nature but it is in no way the only path to knowledge.

Next my opponent list 2 reasons why they think they have won we will now refute them.
"1) To prove science fails, you have to use science. Proof in and of itself relies on science. Thus, to prove scientism wrong requires scientific explanation, which in and of itself proves scientism correct. You cannot prove anything without science, thus science is the only path to knowledge and truth.
2) I meet my burdens. They don't meet theirs. My opponent has failed to give a single way besides science thwe find knowledge and truth."

Response to 1: I agree that disproving science requires science however proof itself doesn't rely on science. ive already given many examples of proving things without science so my previous response refutes this claim. Also your 3rd sentence is circular reasoning since your first premise "Proving scientism wrong requires science" already assumes your conclusion correct.
Response to 2: You have not shown why science doesnt need philosophy in fact before science was called "science" it was called natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature https://en.wikipedia.org...

I will now respond to my opponents rebuttal to my arguments

1) Godels theorem was based on mathematics not logic however it applies to all forms of human epistemology since it shows that it is impossible to prove anything true since any conclusion requires assumptions that are unprovable. Logic does not stem from science this is easily refutable since logic is the study of reason and reason is defined as a statement offered in explanation or justification gave reasons that were quite satisfactory this means that anything that can be logical is valid. One thing that i can prove without science is that i exist i cant scientifically prove that i exist since "I" am my mind and mind cannot be observed or experimented with but i know that my mind exist since in order to judge things i have to exist that is something i know without using the scientific method. Science does not prove scientism since there is no way to can do an observation or experiment to prove that science is the only path to knowledge since that claim is philosophical not scientific.

2) Im not arguing against science im arguing against scientism so your rebuttal is a straw man argument

3) I can agree that science can show why philosophical theory's are accurate however science still depends on philosophy to work. My opponent said that science proves determinism which is completely false in fact determinism was falsified by the uncertainty principle then later the theory of randomness was falsified by the free will theorem (However thats a different topic) Next my opponet says that my source proves scientism whats ironic is that my opponets didnt read the full thing it says
"Neel, your friend is confusing scientism (an epistemological thesis) with naturalism (an ontological thesis). Scientism is the view that we should believe only what can be proven scientifically. In other words, science is the sole source of knowledge and the sole arbiter of truth. Naturalism is the view that physical events have only physical causes. In other words, miracles do not happen; there are no supernatural causes.

These theses are obviously different. A person could accept other sources of knowledge besides science, such as rational intuition, and still be a naturalist. Similarly, one could hold to an epistemology of scientism and yet be a non-naturalist. For example, the late W. V. O. Quine, who held that physical science is our only basic source of knowledge, freely admitted, "If I saw indirect explanatory benefit in positing sensibilia, possibilia, spirits, a Creator, I would joyfully accord them scientific status too, on a par with such avowedly scientific posits as quarks and black holes."i Thus, scientism does not imply naturalism, nor does naturalism imply scientism."
So maybe you should actually read the entire thing without cherry picking my source
http://www.reasonablefaith.org...
(Here is my source for the free will theorem if anyone is interested)
http://www.ams.org...

So we have seen why each and every single one of (pro) arguments are ultimately circular reasoning and dont prove anything.

So please understand why science is NOT the only path to knowledge and vote (Con)
Sarah9019a

Pro

My opponent accepts my definitions. They then claim that there are many things that we know are true that are not scientifically proven, such as forensic science. However, we know they are true through observation, which is part of science. Experimentation is not the only way to scientifically prove something, as they concede by accepting my definitions. Observation works just as well, and their examples of knowledge without research are because of observation.

Why I've won this round:
1) The concede disproving science requires science. That's circular: if you need science to disprove itself, clearly there's no other way to disprove it so we must accept scientism. They literally concede disproving scientism requires science, so this is not circular. Extend this argument: "To prove science fails, you have to use science. Proof in and of itself relies on science. Thus, to prove scientism wrong requires scientific explanation, which in and of itself proves scientism correct. You cannot prove anything without science, thus science is the only path to knowledge and truth."
2) They say we find truth through philosophy but I have shown that any philosophy worth using is found via observation which is science or experimentation which is science. Just because philosophy came before science was given a name does not mean it came before science itself, especially observation.

Their arguments:
1) Godel's theorem: Math is a science. According to Live Science, math is the "science that deals with the logic of shape, quantity, and arrangement." They are trying to disprove science through science. That is super circular.
You can prove you exist without science? No, you can't. 1) Observation. You think you exist because you observe and feel yourself. 2) Um. . .the science that studies the mind is called psychology. You can study it. 3) You are composed of cells, and atoms, and quarks, and potentially strings. That is how you exist. We know that through science. 4) If you care why you call yourself "I" that's linguistics which is science. 4) Others observe you and know you exist. Thus, you exist. That observation is scientific proof. You still can't know anything without science.

2) Extend my rebuttals to this. They say that my rebuttal is straw man because they're arguing against scientism, not against science. However, my rebuttal still holds. We've proven science true by my definition of truth. Since science is true, it is clearly a way to achieve truth. They still haven't shown another way to get to truth. They didn't defend their argument against the fact that the source provided about epistemiology uses scientific evidence and reason to show it true, so even my opponent's own arguments against science as the sole way to find truth are founded in science. That's significant: They can't even prove something true/false without science, this proves my side.

3) Determinism true: http://science.jrank.org.... Even if you don't buy that, disproving determinism through science still shows science shows one way or the other. Besides the source thing (which doesn't actually garner offense for their side because just because two things are different does not disprove one), they dropped my rebuttal that science can prove philosophical theories. Also, philosophy is a product of logic and reasoning, which stem from observations. Why is justice good? Because we observe injustice and observe its harms. Science can prove scientism through logic and observation. That extends, so I win this argument.

They haven't actually defeated any of my arguments. I have won this in three distinct ways:
1) Definitions. Knowledge: "Facts, information, and skills" (Merriam-Webster). Facts and information are gained through observation, and when that fails, experimentation. Skills are gained through observation, for example a baby learning to talk. Truth: "That which is in accordance with fact or reality" (Merriam-Webster). We prove something is real by observing it. If you question that anything exists, the entire foundation of this debate is impossible. We assume things exist because observation works. If you don't buy that, there is no way to know anything, science or otherwise.

2) Truth-testing: There are two options: scientism true and scientism false. Scientism cannot be false as proving it false requires knowledge gained through science to disprove it, which actually proves it true. The only remaining option is that scientism is true.

3) BOP: I meet my burdens. They don't meet theirs. My opponent has failed to give a single way besides science that we find knowledge and truth that they have extended this far.

For these reasons, please vote pro!
Debate Round No. 3
CivilianName295

Con

I will now respond to my opponents main points.

"They then claim that there are many things that we know are true that are not scientifically proven, such as forensic science. However, we know they are true through observation, which is part of science."

Response: This is false in forensics we can convict a murder even when no one was making observations so your claim is wrong

"if you need science to disprove itself, clearly there's no other way to disprove it so we must accept scientism."

Response: Its not about science disproving science its about science being the only way to know things. You cannot scientifically prove that science is the only way to knowledge since you cant make observations and experiments to show how knowledge is exclusive to science that is why scientism is self refuting since its claim that science is the only way to truth cannot be scientifically proven.

"Observation. You think you exist because you observe and feel yourself. 2) Um. . .the science that studies the mind is called psychology. You can study it. 3) You are composed of cells, and atoms, and quarks, and potentially strings. That is how you exist. We know that through science. 4) If you care why you call yourself "I" that's linguistics which is science. 4) Others observe you and know you exist. Thus, you exist. That observation is scientific proof. You still can't know anything without science."

Response: I know i exist because im aware not because im observing myself. i can observe my body but not my mind since i am my mind i am not my body. The mind is immaterial and its not about psychology its about my own existence. I can understand myself through psychology but i only know i exist because i am aware and existence is not the same thing as psychology.

"There are two options: scientism true and scientism false. Scientism cannot be false as proving it false requires knowledge gained through science to disprove it, which actually proves it true. The only remaining option is that scientism is true."

Response: Its not about if science is true its about if its the only path to knowledge. Scientism is self refuting as the claim "Science is the only way to knowledge" cannot be proven using the scientific method so then scientism is false by default.

I apologize if i have not responded to each of my opponents arguments but the fact remains scientism is ultimately self defeating as its foundational claim cannot be proved by science which makes it false.
Sarah9019a

Pro

One observation: They only responded to my case. They did not defend or extend their own. Thus, even if they win every argument I made they can't win since they don't have any arguments, so the debate will tie in that situation. However, I plan to extend arguments.

Things we know we know through observation or experimentation. They cite forensic science as an example since we can "convict a murder even when no one was making observations." However, we convict based on evidence from experimentation, which is still science. This example does not disprove my claim that we know all we know via science.

If you need science to disprove itself, clearly there is no other way to disprove it so we must accept scientism. They claimed we can't scientifically prove that science is the only path to knowledge. I've proven that false through definitions. Furthermore, they don't refute the burden structure which shows I win if they don't prove another way to find truth, which they have not done.

They claim you can know of existence because of awareness, not observation. Awareness is "knowledge or perception of a situation or fact" (Oxford). We gain that knowledge and perception through observation. Also, others observe you and know you exist. Thus, you exist. That observation is scientific proof. You still can't know anything without science. They dropped that argument so extend it.

There are two options: scientism true and scientism false. Scientism cannot be false as proving it false requires knowledge gained through science to disprove it, which actually proves it true. The only remaining option is that scientism is true. Their only response to this is that we're not discussing whether or not science is true but scientism. I am discussing scientism. They then bring up the scientific method. I did not define science by the scientific method but by observation and experimentation, so drop their rebuttal and extend my point.

Voting issues:
1) Disproving scientism requires science. That's circular and proves there is no other way to know things.
2) I have disproven any other way they have tried to find truth and they did not refute that they had that burden to win. I win by default because they have not met that burden.
3) Everything we know, we know through experimentation and observation. That's science. We find truth through science.
4) Definitions mean you vote pro. Knowledge: "Facts, information, and skills" (Merriam-Webster). Facts and information are gained through observation, and when that fails, experimentation. Skills are gained through observation. Truth: "That which is in accordance with fact or reality" (Merriam-Webster). We prove something is real by observing it.

For these reasons, I strongly urge you to vote pro. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Skeptologist 1 year ago
Skeptologist
*regarding round 2 con arguments*
Posted by Skeptologist 1 year ago
Skeptologist
Oh gosh, I hope sarah destroys these arguments. SOOOO EASY. no mercy
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