Recently，in a QQ group，some members were discussing the invocation of spirits, and a materialist asked them to prove spirit creatures exist.
First of all, I don’t think he has enough scientific literacy, for he said the quantum theory is merely presumption.
His core idea is that everything that exists can be observed. But magicians (or sorcerers?) who have experienced invocation don’t think that we can observe spirit by physical means.
According to a magisician, there is unphysical phase of unphysical being, and spirits are unphysical by their nature, therefore they are not able to be physically seen.
I don’t agree with that. I believe it’s possible to find a way observe unphysical things, even though we may need an indirect method, or have to wait for the technology to to develop further. I oppose magicians’ belief that invocation is a psychic experience, so it can’t be measured. I’m a bachelor of psychology, and my graduation thesis is about measuring how participants unconsciously like or dislike religions.
However, not only those facts that can be proved by lab experiments and physically observed should count as scientific. In fact, to do experiments just recreates regular patterns that can be observed in the present. But scientists should deduce a universal law. Every time we do an experiment, what we learn is merely that a certain result will manifest itself under certain conditions.
We observe some phenomenon and gather facts in order to induce a new theory to explain the phenomenon. Observation is just a precursor of science, or a part of science. Furthermore, if observations lead to more than one potential explanation, one should consider which one has more explanatory power, which one contradicts other relevant theories, etc.
If one is a scientist, he/she must make some predictions according to the presumption. Predictions must be specific, in the format of: “If… then…”, so that one could design an experiment to identify whether prediction, also the presumption, is correct or not. If I predicted that “If A, then B” but the result was “If A, then C” , my prediction would be wrong and my presumption might be faulty.
In the process, it’s not the experiment but the prediction that is important. A good prediction can be identify in many ways. For example, the most famous prediction of the relativity theory is about the orbit of Mercury.NO ONE can control the value of Mercury’s gravitational field. But it still proves the relativity theory.
Whether something is scientific or not depends on if its prediction can be proved by experiments, instead of whether I have controlled the variables and repeated it. If I try to do different things before sleeping, suppose I control the variables of these things well, and then I do my regular patterns of sleeping. And even if I repeat the experiment with many people and induce a law of sleeping which is appropriate for us all, I shouldn’t confirm it because it was produced from limited samples and is therefore not able to derive a universal law. Only after upgrading to a predictive presumption and being proved by experiments could it be confirmed.
On the other hand, a theory may be proven by a number of testimonies, but it would still be somewhat unconfirmed. If,someday, a scientist were to gain a result that opposes that theory, what would he/she think?
They would consider whether or not the experiment had gone wrong first!
Even though they might repeat it and gain even more contradictory results, they would not overturn the theory. A theory can be developed, changed, patched. Just like the relativity theory never overturned Newtonian mechanics, and the discovery of the genome never overturned the Darwinian theory, they are developments of their predecessors.
I know that it’s extremely difficult to define what science is. So many philosophers of science are devoted to this issue. They try to make a definition, but scientists always can do something to go beyond it…Therefore, I can’t give a definition of science. But at least, in my opinion, experiments and observation are only a part of science, not what science actually is.