Global Science: 10 Theses For A Scientific Conception Of The 21st Century
The paper “Global Science: 10 Theses For A Scientific Conception Of The 21st Century” By the Syrian med doctor and philosopher Dr. med. Nadim Sradj, MA was submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with the aim that the principles he presents would be accepted for recognized by the organization. Dr. Sradj first presented his paper as a lecture during the opening session the Conference 27th Annual Meeting of ARABMED in Madrid. The lecture is translated to several languages: English, German, French and Arabic.
Dr. Sradj has also submitted his scientific paper for publishing at the worldwide news service and web site www.rense.com. He hopes that the readers will express their opinions and views on his paper “10 Theses For A Scientific Conception Of The 21st Century”.
Global Science in the 21st Century – A Definition from the Standpoint of Political Philosophy
We take the term ‘global’ to be the overcoming of internal (psychological) and external regional and national (geographic) limits on the multidimensionality of the pluralistic world (see appendix: “Development of Global Thought”). In contrast, what is local is marked by conscious demarcation. Borders are principally a negation of freedom.
Global science consists of three types of components:
1. Logical: the presentation of dynamic relationships of elements to each other while taking their functional complex of meaning into account (teleology). Structural knowledge differentiates itself from the conventional inductive experimental logic of John Stuart Mill (1843).
2. Genetic: Knowledge serves to gain orientation and experience improvement within the living environment and attempts to overcome detailed know-how for the benefit of orientational knowledge and in order to determine what is constant among what is changing.
3. Topical-perspectival: Common sense formulates a catalog of topoi (Aristotle’s Topics) in order to recognize and solve a problem situatively and argumentatively. It contrasts with normative expertise and expert’s authoritarian behavior (thinking about problems versus systematic thought).
In contrast to the scientific strategy of knowledge as ‘trial and error,‘ which leads to unending experimentation, we represent a dialectic of simultaneity including both progress and regress. This philosophy of dialog with the natural world attempts to overcome the knowledge sovereignty that is bound up with false consciousness and alienation, thus seeking to avoid irreversible damages from technology (Chernobyl,
Similar to the United Nations’ non-governmental organizations (NGO), we call for the establishment of an independent control commission so that artificial demarcations such as that between ‘German’ and ‘Jewish’ physics during Nazi rule are not able to be repeated.
Knowledge, regardless of the form in which it comes, is bound neither to national borders nor powers. The dynamics of thought has as a consequence a situation where centers of knowledge and power are not able to perpetually hold their monopoly position.
The development of what is global proceeds from the part to the whole, from the simple to the complex, and from that which is static to changeably dynamic.
Crossing borders represents progress in the conscious awareness of freedom.
1 Aristotle. Topik Organon V. Hamburg, 1968.
2 Viehweg, Theodor. Topik und Jurispudenz – Ein Beitrag zur rechtswissenschaftlichen
Grundlagenforschung. C.H. Beck: München, 1969.
1. Scientists cannot place themselves above or outside of nature.
“Knowers” and “non-knowers,” human beings as well as plants and animals, are an integral part of nature.
2. Laws composed by people can not determine nature.
3. Science is not the monopoly of any particular nation, state, society, or institution. Every nation has its own specific cultural tradition and is to be respected for its individual manner of viewing things and solving problems. For example, in Europe, China or India pain is treated differently. There is no hierarchy of knowledge. The dynamics of knowledge do not allow this, since cognition is constantly undergoing modification.
4. What follows is a call to methodological pluralism in research. There are no specific and exclusive methods leading to truth. The history of science is a history of trial and error.
5. The modern phenomenon of normative ‘expertocracy’ (leadership by the experts) constricts the scientific perspective in an inadmissible way. Common sense is formally more comprehensive than the so-called ‘scientific’ findings of experts. Arguments based on reason are more important and more often correct than statistical ‘proofs’ and ‘significant’ curves. The most recent international economic and financial crisis has provided evidence for this.
6. Expertocracy modifies scientific opinions and results into norms, standards, and laws. By this, it transforms knowledge of communication into knowledge as an instrument of power.
7. The adage of the philosopher Bacon that “knowledge is power” paves the way for corruption and crime. The philosopher Paul Feyerabend rightly introduced the term of “science mafia” as a new dimension of contemporary epistemology (comp. Feyerabend, P. Widerstreit und Harmonie (Conflict and Harmony), Vienna 1996, p. 78). Progress by science is not the only way of development; it is often used as mere justification of interests.
8. Establishing a strategic equilibrium for research approaches between economics and ecology, between technology and biology, and between natural and synthetic substances (gene manipulation) is called for.
9. Concepts, hypotheses, and theories are heuristically necessary but not sufficient. Additionally, pictures are required in order to make interrelationships clear. Art and science should compose an intellectual unity (e.g., Dali: watches + pictures of polyaxial chronometry).
10. Mankind has to give up the idea of dominating over nature and has to aspire after reconciliation and dialogue with nature. In this way the idea of ethics and of morality in science and research will regain their particular importance.
Call for Papers and Opinions
On the International Congress of Arabic Physicians in Europe (Arabmed) in Dublin November 2010, we agreed to open an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue on “Global Science – Theses for a Scientific Conception of the 21st Century”.
The aim of this study is to point out the influence of scientific theories on the different societies of the world and to unveil socio-political backgrounds of our time.
Visible and invisible processes should be analyzed in order to understand more about international changes and developments.
This work is meant as a contribution to peace and to a better understanding among the peoples of the world. The intention is to publish these papers as a manifesto.
May we ask you to participate in our discourse by writing a short contribution to one or several theses mentioned in the following either in English, Arabic or German?
Please give your opinion about:
1- How do you see science in general and especially in your country?
2- Do you think that science is able to solve problems of nature and society?
3-Do you think that science does necessarily imply reason and mind? Does science always lead to progress?
4- Can we import or export logic and methods from one country to another?
5- Additionally to logic of research there is also psychology of research.
Do you think that science can influence the consciousness causing ideologies of science?
Thank you in advance!
Dr. med. Nadim Sradj, M.A. / Vice President of Arabmed
Union of Arabic Physicians in Europe / NGO Member of the United Nations. Sradj [at] gmx [dot] de
Explanatory Notes on 10 Theses for a Worldview in the 21st century
1. Scientists are unable to place themselves over or outside of nature. ‘Knowers’ and ‘non-knowers’ are, like plants and animals, an integral component of nature.
Science is a system of statements ordered according to principles which are either deductive, hypothetical (based on premises held to be true) or inductively empirical (based on problems and seeking to find a viable answer). In this connection, what is decisive is that the process of gaining knowledge can be traced intersubjectively and is logically stringent.
Over the course of the centuries, Protagoras’ statement that ‘man is the measure of all things’ has led to a massive overestimation of man’s own capabilities and an absolutization of mankind with all its negative consequences. After the ‘failure of reason’ (Kojev) it has become clear that living nature has a basic value which has largely been ignored up to the present. The consequence of this knowledge is the following:
Not mankind but rather whatever is alive, as a whole (man, animal, plant, usw.), is the measure of all things.
2. Laws composed by mankind cannot determine the laws of nature.
Immanuel Kant formulated his theory of knowledge in the following manner: ‘Human reason prescribes laws to nature.’ Without wanting to belittle the achievements of Kant as a great critical philosopher: In this respect he was not critical enough. To principally derive nature from human wisdom is not acceptable. This point of view corresponds to a false awareness, an ideology.
3. Science is not a monopoly belonging to a particular nation, state, society, or institution. Every nation has its own specific cultural tradition, having its own approach that is to be respected, its things to observe, and its problems to solve. For example, pain is treated differently in Europe than in China and India. There is no hierarchy and no authorities over knowledge. The dynamics of the matter do not allow this, since knowledge is subject to constant transformation.
While the scientific worldview of the 20th century was shaped by European philosophy, the tendency of the 21st century is to overcome this Euro-centrism. An example of this is the successful combination of different international research approaches in the development of our System Therapy we practice with respect to macular degeneration (see appendix: International Origins …). A patient in a critical situation (such as being in danger of blindness) no longer asks about national borders. The patient only seeks help – wherever in the world that might be!
4. What follows from this is the call for methodological pluralism in research. There is no specific and sole method which leads to truth. The history of knowledge is the history of trial and error.
In logic the saying applies that ‘nothing is closer to the truth than error.’ Every instance of scientific knowledge is imperfect, incomplete, and provisional. For the most part, scientific work consists of constantly expanding the frontiers and foundations of knowledge. What serves us as a foundation are the eight known logical and methodological forms. The selection of which of these methods and forms of logic should be applied in a certain case depends on the object and the specific set of questions at hand. While the inductive-experimental method basically assumes that every new piece of knowledge is progress and thereby the borders of progress are stretched, the Heraclitic-
Hegelian dialectic involves progress and regress in equal measure. The accuracy of this point of view is confirmed by the observation that in spite of highly developed technology, there is no reduction of irreversible environmental damage.
5. The modern phenomenon of normative ‘expertocracy’ (the rule of the experts) constricts the perspective in an impermissible manner. Common sense is formally more comprehensive than the reductionistic and so-called ‘scientific’ know-how. Arguments from reason are more important and mostly more correct than statistical ‘proofs’ and ‘significant’ curves. The most recent economic and financial crises have provided a demonstration of this.
Complexity and irregular dynamics in today’s world make it impossible for politicians to reach a clear orientation and to conceptualize their thinking and action. Frequently they have to move like firemen, rushing from one crisis to another. For that reason a new political class has arisen: the experts. However, experts have frequently overstepped their original advisory function and have become decision making structures. Over the course of time, they have acquired immunity and authority by virtue of so-called ‘scientific objectivity.’ As early as the 1972 report by the Club of Rome entitled “The Limits to Growth,” attention was drawn to anomalies and undesirable developments within the economy and science. Politicians and experts have totally ignored this warning up to the present day. It is time to call them to account in this respect.
The safeguarding of decisions by measures of significance, statistics, ‘clinical trials,’ experiments on animals, etc., i.e., through a so-called ‘scientific instrumentarium’ has all too often shown itself to be a mere justification of self-interest. Through the apparent objectivity of experts, the feelings and opinions, i.e., the subjectivity, of so-called lay people are practically shut out.
6. The legitimization of knowledge that is a consequence of expertocracy transforms the knowledge of communication into sovereign knowledge.
Statements made by experts are frequently dogmatized and declared to be the ruling opinions. To this end use is made of large amounts of research materials, multicenter studies, known personalities, international comparisons and – cooperation with and manipulation of the public media. Under these conditions, ‘justice’ is served and laws passed. The judicial justification for this is ‘convention.’ Viewed from the epistemological standpoint of the philosophy of science, ‘convention’ means an arbitrary, one-sided decision for a theory or hypothesis, which has to be neither logically nor objectively founded (Poincaré). The alliance between major industry, party politics, and legislation allows neither critical inspection nor an alternative thereto.
7. Bacon’s adage that ‘knowledge is power’ paves the way for corruption and crime. The philosopher Paul Feyerabend correctly introduced the term ‘science mafia’ as a new dimension of present day epistemology (comp. Feyerabend, P. Widerstreit und Harmonie, Wien 1996, p. 78; English title: The Tyranny of Science). Progress through science is not the sole path to development. This is often just a justification of interests.
Regarding the positive chief virtue of knowledge there are also cognitive, negative side effects, such as alienation in the sense of a degenerative change in consciousness. It is to be noted that normally knowledge is understood as an enrichment or value. As soon as knowledge is seen as power, one falls to the level of the misuse of power. The demoniacal aspect of power and the false consciousness of many a scientist shift the logic of research to the psychology and psychopathology of research. The history of science over the last one hundred years in particular has demonstrated anomalies such as the differentiation between ‘German’ and ‘Einsteinian’ physics. The falsification of scientific research results and the manipulation of statistics is in the meantime an open secret. On the one hand, scientific work holding forth new insights and knowledge is rejected through the intervention of an individual (one phone call suffices!) while plagiarism is simultaneously given the highest praise. Invoking ‘scientific scholarship’ is no longer a criteria for credibility and correct results.
8. There is the need for the production of a strategic balance of research approaches between commercial and ecological aspects, between biology and technology, between natural and synthetic materials (gene manipulation).
The Bush administration gave their vote in favor of the economy and against ecology with respect to the United Nations climate conference in Kyoto. During this conference, the Democratic Vice President of the United States, Al Gore, said that nature is sick and urgently needs a physician. The one-sided concentration on the economy and technology has inflicted irreversible damage on nature. The productions of synthetic materials, such as plastics and poisons, have upset the ecological system. The earth has become a giant car garage. Even medicine has left its historical roots and foundation for the benefit of overly subtle technologies and an exclusively artificial pharmacology. The overestimation of the economy and technology has brought about a shift in the relationship of knowledge and personal interests to the detriment of knowledge. In the long run, thinking in categories of pure material interest brings blindness to values.
9. Concepts, hypotheses, and theories are heuristically necessary but not sufficient. Pictures are also required in order to clarify the overall context. Art and science should build an intellectual unity (e.g., Dali: watches and poly-axial chronometric presentations).
If Hegel saw the exercise of philosophy as capturing its era in concepts, then art has the mandate to present its era in images. Abstract concepts such as methodology, epistemology, among others, are a matter of principle necessary but not sufficient for the advancement of knowledge. Every discipline has its own terminology. The interaction between a picture and a concept is hereby in the position of overcoming the ‘private sphere’ of individual disciplines. Color and form are in the position to make complicated abstract facts and circumstances understandable. In aesthetics we see a real possibility of bringing reason and nature together.
10. It is necessary to give up the idea of subjugating nature in favor of reconciliation and dialog with nature. In this connection the idea of ethics and morality in science and research receives renewed special importance.
In the end effect, subjugating nature is identical with subjugating mankind. The ‘wisdom’ concept is intercultural. Wisdom, as a goal and meaning of knowledge, places borders before mankind’s boundless pursuit of the subjugation of nature. We are on the wrong path! Expertocracy is at its end. In order to change directions, it is necessary for everyone to become involved. Read the full texts:
Dr. Nadim Sradj is a native of Syria who lives since 1956 in Germany (see more http://www.sradj.de/2.html). In Germany he studied Medicine and Philosophy in Mainz and Tübingen respectively, attaining the degrees of Dr. Med. in 1966 and the M.A. in Philosophy in 1968. Dr. Sradj specialized in Ophtalmology at the Universities of Frankfurt/Main and Giessen, where he held positions as scientific assistant professor.
Dr. Sradj is the author of over 100 scientific papers during his career and is the inventor of several measuring instruments in the medical field. He has held lectures in many cities, among them Moscow, New York, Paris, Buenos Aires, Luxembourg and Brussels. He was an editor of the ARABMED magazine, and he is member of several professional and scientific organizations, among them AAAS (http://www.aaas.org/).
SRADJ, Nadim, ophthalmologist and philosopher,
1937 born in Aleppo, Syria,
1956 arrived in Germany,
1963 medical diploma university of Mainz,
1966 M.D. University of Tübingen, Germany,
1968 M.A. in philosophy, Univ. of Mainz,
1968-1969 scientific assistant and lecturer, University of Frankfurt/Main and Univ. of Giessen,
Since 1979 private clinic.
Research in neuro-ophthalmology and strabismology, biological medicine, basic research and scientifical strategy; introduction of French structuralism and physics of thermodynamics into ophthalmology. Invention of instruments (Torticollometer and Cyclometer) for measurement of cyclo- and head-deviation.
More than 150 scientifical publications and lectures in German, English, French and Arabic all over the world. Among them books:
“Rollungsschielen” (Cyclodeviation) 1979,
“Systemtherapie der Maculadegeneration” (4th edition 2004), English edition: “System Therapy of Macular Degeneration” 2008.
“Dynamik des Sehens” (dynamics of vision, perception and malperception, theory of operational aesthetics and its application in art) 2005.
“Theorie und Praxis des Augentrainings bei Arbeiten im Nahbereich und am PC” (2009)
Sradj is member of several European and international ophthalmological organizations. Scientifcal activities in Arabic countries, Argentina, Luxemburg and Russia.
Since 1995: consultant ophthalmologist of the Macular Degeneration Association /Germany (Selbsthilfegruppe Macula-Degeneration e.V.) see: www.macula-degeneration.de
Since 1995: in “Who’s who in the world” and “Dictionary of International Biography”. 2000: Member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2000-2001: in “Who’s who in Medicine and Healthcare”.
Active member of Arabmed (Union of Arabic Physicians in Europe), responsible for cultural affairs and science policy. Since 2009 vice president of Arabmed
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