In Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig wrote “For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. ”
I would like to expand on that idea. From any set of data, an infinite number of hypotheses can be formulated. All of these hypotheses can be proven correct using scientific method. However, introducing more data into the set will both reduce the number of hypotheses available, and invalidate already “proven” hypotheses. Once the set includes all relevant data only one hypothesis will remain which will be the truth.
This worked fine in the past, when only scientists cared about science and very few people had even a basic education. Nowadays it is starting to show just how ineffective it is as a valid method. People are more educated, news travels instantly all over the world, and on any day surfing the internet will produce many debates where scientists disagree with each other on just about every subject but all sides claim they are right because they used scientific method. One thing I have noticed in my reading is the size of the data sample grows smaller with each cycle, with sweeping claims about the human race now being made based on studies of 20 or 30 hand picked people.
The archetype structure contributes as well in it’s own unique way. Much of all of the sciences is still based on hypotheses that have no basis in reality but are yet to be proven false – scientific myth. The collective belief in these myths generates a subconscious collective which shapes subsequent thought. Each time a new myth is added – a new peer reviewed paper is published for example – the subconscious collective changes a little. This causes a change in the conscious perceptions of other scientists, and generates another round of peer reviewed papers as the different factions fight for control of their particular fields myths. It can go on forever – look at what has happened to theoretical physics.
Coincident with the publication of Pirsig’s book has been a mass turn away from the sciences at high school and university levels, with enrollments dropping to less than half previous numbers in a very short time. We have even had politicians talking of conscripting students to study science and maths to get the numbers back up. At a time when we need a large number of intelligent young people to sort out the mess current and past generations have caused, we have no valid way of training them and enrollments reflect that.
Yet another reason to dismantle the archetypes and use our collective thinking abilities to start solving some of these problems.