The main condition for engaging in science is a burning curiosity, the satisfaction of which becomes a way of life. Not everyone can afford it. You need to dive deep into a certain area and study all the best scientific achievements of mankind in order to move on, solving paradoxes and eliminating contradictions. Each step forward requires reflection and meditation. You must also be sincere, impractically honest, and unselfish. The main motivation of a scientist is the satisfaction of curiosity, not a career and making money. This is quite rare today. Mass science, unfortunately, has become a craft that provides the material side of life. If a person has come to science to earn money, he will not become a scientist. And getting academic titles and scientific positions is not about science as such.
The real goal of a scientist is to replenish the universal human culture with new knowledge. Usually, this requires thinking for yourself, and not blindly following the scientific mainstream. It is not profitable. The resistance of the entire mass of the "scientific" mainstream will fall on the real discoverer. At least the mainstream won't "see" a really new contribution.
Michael, you write that "A scientist is someone who seeks the truth beyond belief." Unfortunately, the term "belief" is too vague. This is the church, this is adherence to the scientific mainstream, this is also a personal sincere conviction. If belief is considered a personal sincere conviction, then, from my point of view, "a scientist is someone who seeks the truth on the basis of a personal inner belief that has arisen in the process of creative search."
Thank you Vyacheslav! I can so much relate to what you say in the first two paragraphs. I agree that you have to gain a high level of independence in order to be able to do (to the largest degree possible) unbiased research. I think this is not just true for science. I’m trying to achieve a similar position within tech.
The term belief is a tricky one. Reading your comment makes me realize a paradox here: I believe that if I were able to eliminate belief, I could take a glance at the true nature of things. In other words: I first have to belief that belief could be eliminated to see clearly. Quite contradictory. If I ground my perception of reality on the current state of science, then I’m believing in science in the same way as other people are believing in their religions’ god. Realizing I’m using belief with a sort of negative connotation, as it’s usually relative and biased.
But if I understand you correctly you’d argue that belief in a certain sense is not a bad thing. Isn’t it in fact the only thing we have as humans?
From what I’ve realized in recent years, I now believe in Science as an absolute, knowing that as a human I only can see and measure a relative finite part of it. And I believe in God, as in nature as a whole, which I am part of.
How about you?
I still don’t know how to rephrase my definition, so it unambiguously reflects what I wanted to articulate. Maybe there is a word instead of “belief” that might be a better fit?
Thank you Michael!
The scientist must believe in the existence of uniform cause-and-effect laws of nature and that classical rationalism is the ideal and basis of scientific knowledge and human thinking in general.
When dead ends of misunderstanding arise and scientists find themselves unable to rationally explain the facts of the world around them, they introduce various “scientific” crutches, which today are positivism (the rejection of rational theoretical explanation and the assertion that only experimental facts matter) and mathematical models of the black box type. Instead of achieving rational understanding, mathematics is now universally used as a tool for drawing appropriate black boxes. The internal mechanisms of such models remain hidden and incomprehensible. All results are reduced to highly arbitrary interpretations, full of prejudices and contradictions. A good example is modern quantum mechanics. Mathematical models of complex systems today are approximately 100% black box models - doi.org/10.7717/peerj.948…
Science and religion are engaged in the same thing - the knowledge of the world in which we live. When the church assumed the functions of preserving the foundations of society, it itself stopped and was mothballed as an instrument of knowledge for hundreds and thousands of years. The Academy of Sciences also has the functions of protecting the acquired knowledge, and this also does not always contribute to progress.
Both science and religion are based on faith. The most basic and most important scientific theories for practice are based on axioms. Axioms are statements accepted without evidence. Axioms are statements and beliefs of faith. The abstract objects and axioms of Euclidean geometry are the result of reflections on the skills, techniques and traditions of the annual marking of the Nile Valley after the floods and, perhaps, on the experience of building the pyramids. This vast practical experience, accumulated over many thousands of years, has led to the emergence of completely obvious abstract objects. These abstract objects do not exist in the facts around us. Axioms act as elements of our faith, which has arisen in us as a fundamental generalization of the achieved inner understanding. Only by building a white box model in his head can a person formulate from within himself the appropriate axiomatics for transferring personal experience of understanding as personal faith to students, paper and computers.
Perhaps a more accurate definition of a scientist is: "A scientist is one who seeks truth beyond the known."
Thank you for your time sharing your understanding. I appreciate it. And I’m reflecting on your remarks.
A scientist is one who seeks truth beyond the known.
That one points in the right direction. Thank you!
I’d be curious to hear about your ideas how to shine a light on those particular problems and make more people aware of it. Maybe this is best done implicitly by exploring a concrete topic but do it in a different — more transparent way? Would you generally be open to write about your research on a more higher level and guide a discussion?
Good evening Michael!
I cannot refrain from general preliminary considerations. I have been organizing seminars and discussions for many years. And of course I have experience in scientific publications. So I'm interested in making Ken the world’s most authentic library of human experiences. It is, as I understand it, about creating a broad base of ideas in the context of the personal stories associated with those ideas. This is a kind of expert club that provides authors with the most convenient environment for presenting their ideas. An idea can also take the form of a story. In this regard, I like the standard abstracts of the popular scientific journal Nature:
One or two sentences giving a basic introduction to the field that is understandable to a scientist in any discipline.
Two to three sentences of more detailed background understandable to scholars in related disciplines.
One sentence that clearly defines the general problem addressed in this particular study.
One sentence summarizing the main result (with the words "here we will show" or their equivalent).
Two or three sentences explaining what the main result reveals in direct comparison with what was considered earlier, or how the main result complements previous knowledge.
One or two sentences to put the results in a more general context.
Two or three sentences may be included in the first paragraph to provide a broader perspective easily understood by scholars in any field if the editor believes that their inclusion would significantly improve the accessibility of the paper. Under these conditions, the length of a paragraph can be up to 300 words.
It would be desirable that, along with personal subjective stories, knowledge itself be formulated in the form of ideas. At the same time, I would like the author's ideas to be presented with the desire to:
Maximum simplicity, assessed by clarity, brevity, unambiguity, full disclosure of the concept to elementary components - monoconcepts and monostructures - the main objects and basic axioms from which the thought develops logically.
Agreement with the facts and with the foundations of scientific knowledge.
All this is similar to organizing the work of a group of experts on the Delphi forecasting method. The work of experts within the framework of this method is organized in the form of an iterative exchange of points of view on a specific problem. As a result of multiple iterations (3-4 it.) of mutual "fertilization", specialists enrich each other's knowledge, and the ideas themselves develop like living organisms. At one time, Erich Jantsch wanted the work of the Club of Rome to be organized in this way.
…and the ideas themselves develop like living organisms.
That’s a nice way to picture it. I’d love to have a space where ideas can develop in a more organic way, as an alternative to the rigid, slow and expensive journal publishing model. I’ll spend the next days reflecting on this, considering your input and will be in touch again!