Monday, October 26, 2009

Theory vs Fact

It occurs to me that Progressive thought ... which is basically runaway academic thought ... is marked by an impairment in the ability to differentiate between theory and reality.

Theories are useful.  Even necessary to expanding understanding.  But in the past, oh, I don't know, 30-50 years ... maybe more, there has been an emphasis on ideas over substance, ostensibly to encourage ideas.  "There are no wrong answers."  And no idea is better than another.

Well... yes there are.  And yes ... some are.

In scientific method, theories are tested to see if they hold up.

A favorite bumpersticker of Progressives is --
 "Imagination is More Important than Knowledge".  (Apparently Albert Einstein)
Well ... no.

Imagination is important, no doubt.  But it can never trump knowledge.   Imagination comes up with theories, and verification adds to knowledge.  Now there are things that have been considered knowledge (the earth is flat) that imagination challenged and experimentation ... verification ... found to be incomplete, not accurate, and knowledge was expanded.

Knowledge (verification) must always have the final word.

The earth didn't suddenly become round when someone imagined that it might be round.  The earth has flatness when taken in small chunks, and it has roundness when taken in larger chunks.  (Calculus deals with this concept mathematically.)

Anthropogenic Global warming is a theory.  It has a basis in known physics.  But it is incomplete -- and the data is inconclusive at best, and contradictory when we overlay atmospheric CO2 and temperature records and look at the offset.  You know, verification.  What you're supposed to do with theories before you accept them as "true".

And yet the academic cannot accept that the theory is wrong ... well ... not most.  And proving the theory is correct is where the money is.  Showing that it is not leads to scorn and very little funding.

Keynsian economics is theoretical.

It has been shown not to work.

And it's the same as with AGW.

Being "right" is more important than being, you know... correct. You know, as in, matching reality.

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