Relativnost dejstev v post-resničnostni družbi

Neupoštevanje dejstev, ki nam ne gredo v prid, je seveda “tradicionalni šport” vsakogar izmed nas. Nekateri politiki – od Janše do Trumpa – so na tem izgradili svoje politične kariere. Toda zadeva je še bolj resna. Morda imamo oziroma imajo lažnivi politiki celo prav. Namreč, kot lucidno pravi Julia Shaw v I’m a Scientist, and I Don’t Believe in Facts, objavljenem v Scientific American, dejstva in resnice sploh ne obstajajo. Ne obstajajo trdni dokazi za skoraj nič. Če se sklicujete, da je nekaj res, ker naj bi tako dokazala znanost, ste prav gotovo v zmoti. Kajti znanost ne more dokazati ničesar. Lahko zgolj niza empirične ugotovitve, ki gredo v prid subjektivnim pričakovanjem oziroma napovedim. In vsaka nova raziskava doda košček “nove resnice” k stari in staro spreminja. V nekaj desetletjih ali sto letih se je obdržalo zelo malo “resnic”. Kar je bilo “dejstvo”, utemeljeno z “znanstvenimi dokazi”, pred sto leti, je danes običajno že zdavnaj pozabljena teorija.

Je pa hudič, če nič okrog nas ni res. Če nobena “dejstva” ne držijo in če je vse relativno. Komu ali čemu zaupati, če v istem trenutku znanstvene raziskave dajejo kontradiktorne ugotovitve? Na kaj naj se sploh še opiramo? Kaj naj bodo naša vodila?

No, meni to smrdi po dobro prikriti umazani verski propagandi. Če nič ni res, če je vse relativno, nas lahko kot moralni vodnik vodi samo močna notranja vera v “Nezmotljivega”, mar ne? Huh, jaz imam s tem malce težav, ker sem empiricist. Raje verjamem v preverljiva empirična “dejstva”, ki se dinamično spreminjajo, kot pa v dogme. Zato pač tvegam, da z metodo “trial and error” ne bom prišel v nebesa.

 

I’m a factual relativist. I abandoned the idea of facts and “the truth” some time last year. I wrote a whole science book, The Memory Illusion, almost never mentioning the terms fact and truth. Why? Because much like Santa Claus and unicorns, facts don’t actually exist. At least not in the way we commonly think of them.

We think of a fact as an irrefutable truth. According to the Oxford dictionary, a fact is “a thing that is known or proved to be true.” And where does proof come from? Science?

Well, let me tell you a secret about science; scientists don’t prove anything. What we do is collect evidence that supports or does not support our predictions. Sometimes we do things over and over again, in meaningfully different ways, and we get the same results, and then we call these findings facts. And, when we have lots and lots of replications and variations that all say the same thing, then we talk about theories or laws. Like evolution. Or gravity. But at no point have we proved anything.

But while the magic of science should make our eyes twinkle with excitement, we can still argue that the findings from every scientific experiment ever conducted are wrong, almost by necessity. They are just a bit more right (hopefully) than preceding studies.

That’s the beauty of science. It’s inherently self-critical and self-correcting. The status quo is never good enough. Scientists want to know more, always. And, lucky for them, there is always more to know.

Our understanding can always be improved upon. Even if it is wrong, it doesn’t make a preceding insight bad, it is often the necessary intermediary step to get our insight to where it is today.

But let’s make it our job as a society to encourage each other to find replicable and falsifiable evidence to support our views, and to logically argue our positions. In the process, please stop saying “because, science” to justify your argument, and using “FACT” as a preface to your statements. These are just the grown-up versions of “because I said so.” We need to remind each other to stay on our toes and to actually backup our claims.

Vir: Julia Shaw, Scientific American

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