Language - The Core of Science
Apr 15, 2017 Teaching 230 Views
We live in a world of science, the most profound force changing our lives. Language is closely linked to the intelligence of mankind. It is employed to explain and convey science, with scientific writings being records of sciences. Language itself is considered no science. However, in my recent article "independence of written language from the non-textual world" we noted that the texts are part of science. We mentioned the world can be re-explained. Now, let's start re-explaining the world from discussing "writing as part of science". Herein, as always, we consider written language the essential form of language.
Principle of investigation
We treat texts as independent visual information, capable of forming part of science, instead of as representations of science.
We consider science as collections of sensory information, mostly what we see. Science is divided into textual portion and non-textual (visual and non-visual) portion. Investigations are carried out on the characteristics of the information, and the effect and contribution of the information on the senses and the mind. We examine the properties of texts and reading to know what roles texts play in science.
Common properties of science and written language
Being an infinite empire, sciences have a few key properties. We can see many commonalities between the key properties of written language and science. Below list some of them. These qualities are not possessed by non-texts, at least not so genuinely. That suggests texts lie in the heart of science. They give science its core properties; and laid the foundation for all sciences.
1. Sequential: Sequential texts permit cause-result reasoning. They also form procedures. Scientific methods emphasize procedure, in which things are conducted step by step.
2. Clarity: This makes us "see things" more clearly. Even though phenomena themselves are not clear, the texts describing them are fit for seeing. Because of this, science possesses the power of diving into the details and "invisible parts" of things. Researchers strived to see things clearly, e.g. with microscopes and telescopes. What they are doing in fact, is to generate visual information visible to their eyes.
3. Compactness and simplicity: Scientists always strive to make simple descriptions of knowledge. Breaking down complex things into simpler elements is a key spirit of science, as repeated experimental observations can be codified into combination of symbols.
4. Organized and systematic: Because of textual arrangements, science becomes organized and systematic.
5. Rigor: There are established rules for the formation of words, sentences, paragraphs and books. That contributes to the rigor of science.
6. Cumulative and branched: New theories are usually based on or derived from existing theories. Accumulation occurs by means of citing, modifying, editing, and expanding existing scientific writings. Accumulation of the sciences also necessitates divisions into various disciplines and branches, which are laid out by texts.
7. Integrated and interconnected: Due to the symbolic connections and organizations in texts, the infinite growth of sciences doesn't result in disarray since they have texts to center on. Sciences are glued together with relations between them established. Interdisciplinary fields are also developed in between.
8. Stable and memorizable: Due to simplicity, clarity and sequential properties, writings remain stable during the accumulation process. Existing sciences are unchanged when new phenomena emerge. During expansion, sciences need to be memorized for use, which is facilitated by texts.
9. Predictive: Associations between non-texts and texts are somewhat arbitrary, variable and expandable. A literate mind is equipped with texts to analyze new phenomena and make new associations. In this way, science is said to predict the future.
10. Representational and explanatory: Science represents things and explains why things are and how things work. The most useful for explaining are the texts, figures, diagrams, books, and papers. For complex scientific thinking, literates are not sure until they can explain their thoughts in texts. The explanatory nature of language and writing might have been overlooked.
Texts: the foundation of a scientific mind
Scientific publications describe theories and findings. The descriptions form the centerpiece of scientific thought. Scientific texts organize; empower our mind to work out solutions. When we think about solutions, we imagine the symbols, lines, curves, and shapes, to depict what we study . Scientific thinking takes effect via reasoning on the texts , by means of fixating, contradicting, moving, searching, comparing, organizing, etc. Without texts, we cannot truly understand science. We read them to learn science. They inject science into our minds, where it takes effect.
During research, scientists read extensively. During and after the reading, they actually are performing scientific thinking based on texts. Scientists write to create science. They publish to spread science.
This notion can obviously be applied to science and technology in a broad sense. Social sciences, applied sciences, technology, engineering, and so forth all bear the very essence of science: text-centered. The qualities of texts and reading also have to do with almost all other fields, such as law and history. The endless expansion of texts has commonized the mental forms of many seemingly unrelated disciplines, all of which share text-based scientific properties. People's daily life is filled with texts. Even though many of the texts are not science oriented, they enrich people's minds with scientific qualities.
Texts and non-texts in science
The texts have association with non-texts to form the whole of science. Non-texts are the purposes, resources, material and occurrences of science. Sciences are defined and categorized according to the characteristics of non-texts. Usually, the textual core is not the goal, but the means. Via connection with the textual mind, non-textual goals are achieved. The overwhelming non-texts could even undermine texts' visibility and realness, not to mention its central status in science. Indeed, what we are proposing is not to reject the dominance of non-texts as sensory information, but that such dominant information becomes scientific due to their association with texts.
Many words have multiple meanings in diverse disciplines, for science and non-science. We need to read sentences and paragraphs to know the exact meaning. Reversely, a theory might be described in numerous ways. The texts look casual, subjective, and variable, contradicting the formal, objective and fixed properties of science. In fact, there is no conflict. Such properties are reached by individual minds' processing of enormous texts originating from visual encounters.
Science encompasses an extremely vast collection of information, textual and non-textual. Texts' visual features and the characteristics of reading reflect key properties of science, suggesting scientific writings are the central part of science. The texts provide people with the visual information to study, remember, process, and search, building a scientific foundation in the mind.
Two years ago, I had discussed the significance of the textual mind, which supports science. Now, we go a step further to consider texts as the core of the powerful sciences, incorporating the texts into science. That can form a new basis for analysis of the science or text-related world.
 Diagrams, figures are contained in scientific texts to assist describing. They are additions to symbolic dimension of texts. Still, letters and words are usually part of formula and embedded into diagrams and figures.
 In literate minds, texts are activated when we analyze non-textual objects. New texts, even new theories can be produced this way. The literates might not know the underlying force come from the texts in mind.