This is a Malayalam video in which I try to bring epistemological nuance to a debate on whether science is the only way of knowing.

youtu.be/e-3cZmEy9ao

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@akshay Partially agree, partially disagree :)

Science is not just about 'single' truth. Even in classical physics, there can be multiple truths. For example, you can't distinguish between a body at rest and a body moving with uniform velocity (without having an external point of reference). Now come to modern physics, quantum mechanism reigns outside of our concepts of macro universe, you can have infinite truths with different probabilities!

@akshay When we say science is the only way of knowing, it means scientific method is the only way of validating your hypotheses. Otherwise it's just like a "dragon in my garage", no matter whatever claim I make about it, it'll just remain as my imagination (but the consequences of my imagination can be real! ;)

@akshay Just nitpicking about what you said at the end of the video. Objectivity is not about tangible 'objects', but about the state of not being subjective.

@akshay Talking about social sciences, I believe the reason why different people can reach at different conclusions instead of a single truth is because of the infinitesimal number of factors involved which makes reproducibility almost impossible. To validate a hypothesis, we need to be able to recreate the same environment under which the experiments take place, which again is seemingly impossible!

@akshay Our physical differences along with our experiences make each of us unique. Which in turn, wires each of our brains uniquely. What if we can replicate two brains and if they're put under exactly same environments? Will they behave same or different? Theoretically speaking, I have no reasons to assume they'll behave differently. On the other hand, practically speaking, I'm not even sure such exact replication is possible!

@akshay Despite how unique each of us are, we still share surprisingly a lot of similarities. It should be that similarities making our behaviours predictable under similar environments. It's that similarities exploited by the ad industries to succeed in mass manipulation, isn't it? Isn't it the reason why human behavior can be engineered with enough precision to influence the result of a nation's election?

@akshay I wonder how adding an "if" clause gives space for other ways of "knowing". Consider the statement "Switching on the light is the only way to see things in this room". Now how is it different from saying "If there is a way to see things in this room, it is only by switching on the light"? It still claims switching on the light is the ONLY way. How does adding that "if" clause imply that there are other ways to see things in the room?

@bady
If clause implies that there are other ways to "see". Yes. It gives the space to redefine what "see" means. For example, I could ask someone what is in the room. I could speculate.

If creates the space for if not.

@bady
By not giving space for if not, one is pushing those situations out, that those situations are irrelevant.

@akshay Okay, my first reaction was to refute that saying it is paradoxical (I still think it is paradoxical because when you redefine "see" then the original statement no longer holds true). But reading it again and again, I think I got what you mean. The if is not actually necessary, but having it there explicitly tells us that there is some space for if not (that space was already there, "if" just makes it easy for us to see). Great thinking! :)

@bady
I think the ad industry is exploiting the cultural norms of confirmation with what everyone else is doing. Because going away from the trend is violently stopped by society, be it growing your hair, girls wearing jeans, loving outside class/caste or any deviation from the norm. People confirm because of violent forces operating to create obedient society.
@akshay

@praveen @akshay That could be one of the reasons or even the main reason. Now consider the question "why did the apple fall?". You may say the apple was already ripe and then there was a strong wind. Are you wrong? No. But if you ask Newton, he'll say gravity. You're talking the about events and/or conditions that make it suitable for some event to happen, while in my previous toot I was talking about the fundamental reason why ad industries succeed.

@bady
You fundamental reason ignores status quo. You assume everyone will confirm irrespective of the social norms. Same ads don't work across cultures. Like the jewellery ad that had different climax in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. So in a culture where questioning is encouraged, these ads need not succeed.
@akshay

@praveen @akshay "You assume everyone will confirm irrespective of the social norms."

I never said that. Please read again what I said. Despite everyone being unique, ad industries still succeed in manipulating the masses because of the "similarities" we hold. Less similarities means less chances for success. I never said ad industries are 100% successful, never said they are successful all the time.

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