Science in Politics and Society

by Nikolai V. Shokhirev

Application of Science and Common Sense to Political and Social Issues

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790), Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Contents

Up (Popular science) | >> How to quantify subjective estimates?

Preface 

"The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception".
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

This is not about a political science (I even do not know what is this). This is an attempt to apply a scientific approach or just a common sense to political and social issues (where it makes sense). Here I am not promoting my viewpoints. Instead I try to give a tool for checking your own ideas (for those who want this). 

As almost in all fields of human activity, the problem with political and social issues is that people prefer to be fooled and live in the world of dreams and illusions. 

Below you can test yourself.

Objectiveness test

Was inhered to your country/nation anything from the following?

  1. Racism
  2. Genocide
  3. Aggression
  4. Expansionism
  5. Intolerance (religious or cultural)

Answers:

  1. All of the above
  2. Some of the above
  3. None of the above

Interpretation:

1 or 2 - You belong to a current or former big nation and you objectively evaluate the history of your country (nation).

3 -  Either you do not know the history of your nation (or do not want to know) or you belong to nation which is a victim of the above actions.

The historic fact is that all great powers gained their strength by consuming various resources from the other countries, nations and ethnic groups. This can sound unpleasant but this is not the fact itself, this its interpretation. Various persons can interpret the same facts quite differently. Scientific approach is based on facts, but facts are only a part of information. 

Scientific approach

You can find more extended definition of scientific approach here. However, at the most basic level, it reduces to the following two items:

  1. Obtaining facts (experiments, measurements)
  2. Interpretation of facts (theory)

Mixing, blending and combining of these items is a major source of confusion and delusion, as well as deception.

Our simplified approach reduces to these two steps:

  1. Divide any information (news, statement, slogan, etc.) into smallest possible logical pieces
  2. Each piece of information should be split into the above two atomic items: a fact and its interpretation.

A fact can be either true (real, correct) or false (incorrect, falsified), and its interpretation (theory) can be either true (correct) or false (incorrect, inadequate, incomplete, wrong). 

There are the following combinations of (Fact, Interpretation):

   Interpretation 
 Fact       False   True 
 False  1  2
 True  3  4

The resulting information can be characterized as follows 

 Fact \ Interpretation combination  Information 
 1.  Fact is false, Theory is wrong   False *)
 2.  Fact is falsified, Theory is correct   False
 3.   Fact is correct, Theory is wrong   False
 4.  Fact is correct, Theory is correct   True
 *) This is not a formal logic.

Now you can analyze any information using this simple tool (if you want to). Obviously even the use of this simple tool require some mental efforts. However, in our information age it is getting easier to get information.

Where to get information?

There are tons of "information" around. Unfortunately radio and TV news currently are the part of entertainment industry and the quality of such "news" is questionable. Scientists routinely use a cross-validation of the information from different sources. Fortunately all news agencies and newspapers deliver the information in various languages. For example, if you heard something about France in American news, check this in some French source or, better, in German one. Now all this is a click away.

Try this approach. Very soon you select several reference sources of information.

Next: How to quantify subjective estimates?


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ŠNikolai V. Shokhirev, 2004-2007