Other ways of knowing

It’s a popular meme amongst the sans-science crowd to claim there are ‘ways of knowing’ besides science. They don’t simply mean ways of ‘knowing’ things like whether or not someone loves us, but rather they mean ways of knowing significant, world view-altering things beyond our personal lives. That is, they want to bring their non-methods up to the level of knowing that science gives us (or, perhaps, they want to bring science down to their level). It’s sort of cute, but it never stands up to scrutiny. There is a reason, after all, why no respectable institution teaches that Adam and Eve actually existed – even if genetic facts didn’t tell us they are 100% fictitious, religion offers zero in the way of knowing otherwise.

So that brings me to Deepak Chopra. The anti-science quack is always embarrassing himself one way or another, and he does so in this video in exactly the same way the mainstream religious embarrass themselves when they talk about ‘other ways of knowing':

The guy is entirely unable to answer the question. He waffles and waddles about, at some point launching into a weak attack of science, implying the entire field needs to evolve to include some weird, unscientific ideas he has. Just like the Expelled creationists, he wants to redefine science to fit the ideas he wishes were true.

The fact is, science is the best way of knowing that we have. It offers concrete methods for coming to conclusions as objectively as humanely possible. Chopra and other religious nutbags (i.e., the mainstream) want to substitute that objectivity for subjectivity – if we cannot confirm or falsify a claim, then all claims become equal, and wouldn’t you know it? that makes everything equal, giving religion and ‘spirituality’ (whatever that is) quite a bit more space to operate.

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4 Responses

  1. I agree with you. I’d just say that science is the best way of knowing – to a point. After that point there may be no way to know at all. The scientific method does require reproducible results and observations, with some things that just isn’t possible, and religion or tarot cards or whatever else doesn’t help us ‘know’ these things either.

    Some things currently just lie beyond our ability to poke with sticks.

    Shame on the guy with the funny accent for claiming he “knows” anything. I believe in God, but that is not the same thing as knowing there is one.

  2. Wow. I mean, that doesn’t even qualify as an attempt to answer the question. It was incoherent inanity.

  3. It really, really doesn’t help that he could pass for the guy I talked to in (insert country containing HP’s call centers and indecipherable accents) about replacing the faulty dvd burner in my computer.

  4. Sure there are other ways of knowing. There’s science, and then there’s guessing. “Guessing” gets dressed up with other names, of course, like “intuitive experience” or “religion,” but it’s basically guessing.

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