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On transcending the limitations
of contemporary science


Hi, Win,

As per your request, I've just started to peruse your new `Mindfield' section. Your discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary scientific methodology is highly congruent with views held by both myself and my mentor, Dr. Stuart Piddocke, and these positions are also mirrored — and expanded on — in my book, The Mind of the Steward:  Inquiry-based Philosophy.

I certainly agree with your point that scientific inquiry, when properly conducted, is one of the best available tools on the planet, due in large part to its open-minded, open-ended, and partially self-correcting (through use of evidence), nature.

I also find quite plausible, for example, your assertion that current science is severely constrained (quoting from your article):

You dare not come up with research results very different from those which your funding sources expect! That is, if you hope ever to get any more funding! This is a matter way beyond the problem of "departmental politics," way beyond fear of "golden fleece awards." It is so pervasive in every field of science that virtually no one has bothered to notice or remark it, and few are even conscious of it until it is pointed out. This incredibly corrupting factor also interacts with the other shortcomings of present-day science — especially the many regards wherein the ad hominem fallacy is engendered — to make things even worse.
I would add that, as Stuart has pointed out to me, real paradigm shifts or truly novel theories seldom can originate from within Ph.D. or Masters degree programs, inasmuch as the evaluation committee is *not professionally trained to evaluate them* (since a new theory is by definiton new!). Moreover, scientific journals also may not publish truly original work, even when done by scientists, as it may fall outside the scope and evaluative competency of those journals.

Due to both the factors you cite, such as funding considerations, and due to the inability to deal with new models, most Ph.D. or even professorial work tends to be of the ordinary, or, in Thomas Kuhn's words, "puzzle solving" variety of science, that is, science performed within the parameters of pre-existing paradigms and theories.

It may, therefore, be no coincidence that the major theoretical breakthroughs of the past 150 years generally happened outside established universities. Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Marx, for example, all did their seminal work outside university environments!

Yours for significant novelty!
Blessings of light!

— Eric Sommer


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