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Core Values And Mission Statement

Principia Scientific Australia (PSI-AU), is an independently-run subsidiary of Principia Scientific International CIC, the only independent science body in the world that is legally incorporated to champion the traditional scientific method, as set out in the work of Karl Popper (above).

According to Karl Popper, one of the most influential philosophers of science in the past millennium, “In so far as a scientific statement speaks about reality, it must be falsifiable; and in so far as it is not falsifiable, it does not speak about reality.”

Here we detail our core values. Our senior team has incorporated many of the ideas of Karl Popper in our Mission Statement.

1. PSI CORE VALUES:

Principia Scientific Australia is a self-sustaining community of impartial scientists from around the world deliberating, debating and publishing cutting-edge thinking on a range of issues without a preconceived idea of outcomes.

PSI-AU has identified that there are currently two opposing methodologies at conflict:

Traditional scientific method: borne of the Age of Enlightenment and which gave rise to the technological advances of the industrial revolution.

Post-normalism:* pre-deterministic approach where policy and outcome dictate the kind of ‘science’ needed to justify it. Perceived as the most culpable purveyors of this modern malaise are national governments, NGO’s and big corporations.

PSI ASSOCIATES are steadfast in their support of the traditional scientific method as encapsulated  in the ideas of Karl Popper. PSI-AU opposes post-normalism and endeavors to provide society with an antidote (from the Greek αντιδιδοναι antididonai, “given against”) to the seemingly gargantuan and pervasive rise of post-normal science by way of our publishing, educational and media-focused materials and presentations.

For, as Karl Popper advocated, any hypothesis that does not make testable predictions is simply not science. Such a hypothesis may be useful or valuable, but it cannot be said to be science.

(Wikipedia excerpt) In Popper’s view, the advance of scientific knowledge is an evolutionary process characterized by his formula:

PS_1 rightarrow TT_1 rightarrow EE_1 rightarrow PS_2. ,

In response to a given problem situation (PS_1), a number of competing conjectures, or tentative theories (TT), are systematically subjected to the most rigorous attempts at falsification possible. This process, error elimination (EE), performs a similar function for science that natural selection performs for biological evolution. Theories that better survive the process of refutation are not more true, but rather, more “fit”—in other words, more applicable to the problem situation at hand (PS_1). Consequently, just as a species’ biological fitness does not ensure continued survival, neither does rigorous testing protect a scientific theory from refutation in the future. Yet, as it appears that the engine of biological evolution has produced, over time, adaptive traits equipped to deal with more and more complex problems of survival, likewise, the evolution of theories through the scientific method may, in Popper’s view, reflect a certain type of progress: toward more and more interesting problems (PS_2). For Popper, it is in the interplay between the tentative theories (conjectures) and error elimination (refutation) that scientific knowledge advances toward greater and greater problems; in a process very much akin to the interplay between genetic variation and natural selection. (End of Wikipedia excerpt)

So where does the ‘untruth’ of post-normal scientist take us? Here is a clue:

“Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science. But to proffer such insights, scientists – and politicians – must trade (normal) truth for influence.” — Mike Hulme, British Climate Scientist.

2. PSI AUSTRALIA MISSION STATEMENT:

Principia Scientific Australia strives to:

  • Be the leading independent voice in Australia for principled science as per the Traditional Scientific Method (TSM) and associated ideas of Popper;
  • Be an authoritative source of information for the advancement of new scientific ideas and the raising of standards in science for the benefit of the broader Australian community;
  • Publish books, periodicals, give lectures and media interviews as part of our diverse program of support for encouraging the application of the principles of TSM in the Australian community;
  • Collaborate with national scientific societies and policymakers for the advancement of science, science education and the science community

MEMBER RECRUITMENT:

PSI-AU is free to join for all qualified scientists, engineers and related professionals (inc. media and education). However, for those who can afford it, we do suggest a voluntary donation of £25 (about US$30) to assist in our running costs. To join register today – it’s simple and quick.

For more information, please visit our contact page.

*Post-Normal Science is a concept developed by Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz, attempting to characterize a methodology of inquiry that is appropriate for cases where “facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent” (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1991). It is primarily applied in the context of long-term (politicized) issues where there is less available information than what is desired by stakeholders (aka a social elite).