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Whether It Is Science, Or Not.....official, Or Not

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Posted by M.W.Pearson on November 15, 2002 17:02:32 UTC

depends on your definition of science
and official.

Dear Dima,
I lack the beautiful phrases
for now but I earnestly offer to
hear more from you. Here are some
serious thoughts. If you are committed
and not just playing with our yearnings for it,
I can hope you will reply. My too-sketchy
report begins here:

"Official science" can be poor science.

I agree some yoga is outstanding.
Some of your yoga's promises will be scientifically confirmable.

But in order to keep science and yoga from
being contaminated by each others' methods,
I propose yoga and meditation are in a
field of their own...AS IMPORTANT AS
the entire field of science, but comprising
a different discipline. I will outline why
with grateful use of your statement as counterpoint.

You wrote:
"But accuracy, reproducibility of results same as in other, official sciences - in psychology, biology. To check up it is possible on own experience (as well as any other scientific work)."

For each person to test an important scientific principle "on own experience" is something we
cannot oppose, but should we also admit there are dangers? I want persons to try meditation and yoga and I think there is great potential value
in them...and as in anything mental, there is possibility for finding one's self in a cul de sac which one must come back out from.

"Informed consent" has a higher standard when
committing one's self to investigate a "science" of mind. Can you tell someone how to test any instrument using the same instrument as the tool of measurement? That is the only way a person can confirm, scientifically, that one's own mind is working as it should. I admit it is possible ! But there are some ingredients which it seems clear must be present, including free
the possibility of trying a variety of similar products and comparing notes with other "scientists." I am not sure that yoga or mediation will ever attain this clarity of mind
among a group of colleagues. If it does, they will be masters of a higher order than any I have
ever met. Jesus' (storybook) example comes to mind because by letting transcendence remain poetic, it avoids some the logical problems that would come from insisting it was scientifically true.

Psychology is far from strictly logical or empirical in many of its arguments. There are
a few very strong baseline arguments for
psychology as a science, but it has not developed
into science in the usual sense, yet. Nor has economics, though it is dubbed "the dismal science." There are diverse schools of psychology which have yet to be reconciled.
Also, psychology has strong ramifications for the rights and privileges of persons. Advocates for each school of thought cannot necessarily refute the other schools of thought. Each group of researchers produces many of their results with control but are unable to define the natural state of mind. It is very interesting and valuable as commentary. For a while, psychology even had one element your website does not have about science: lots of careful, careful argument.

How can there be a science which is dictated
to us on authority and which does not invite
rebuttal? Science is exactly about testing
and refining propositions. We can review the
history of the science of chemistry and note
the errors made by even the illustrious persons
of science. There is no noting the errors made
in the history of yoga. And if there were, it
would probably be a dictation once again.
The history of errors in science was not dictated
but a record of breaking news stories which were
strongly confirmed by gentle argument and conclusive testing. (These attributes may also be missing in the "official" science of an age.)

I hope you will reply.

Mike

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