One way I’ve found to test out if an idea is reasonably objective, otherwise generally known as a “fact”, is if pretty much everyone agrees with it. If there are many folks who definitely don’t agree with the idea, then the idea must be a subjective opinion, even if one “side” of the debate has mounds of evidence, collected with all sorts of scientific instruments “proving” the claim. And that’s because, from what I understand about the definition of “objective”, for an idea to be objective, it has to be more about the external object than about the experiences of the individual perceiving it. Which means that to have a truly objective explanation of anything that is real (existing in four dimensional space~time) then all of the possible different experiences of it need to be included in the description of it: top, bottom, front, back, left, right, inside, outside, past, present, and future. If someone misses or dismisses any individual subjective view of the object when defining it, then the definition will naturally be less than truly objective.
In other words, reality is everything everyone has said, and will say, about it.
Objectivity is all of the subjective views combined…
Which leads to all sorts of interesting challenges for science and those who appreciate the scientific (objective) approach to understanding reality. It means that all views are necessary and must be included for a scientific theory to be as accurate as possible.
This means no dismissing outliers. This means valuing dissenting views. This means no using tiny percentage points of difference in data results (“statistically significant”) to make overarching and overgeneralized claims without the serious qualifiers of where and when and who and how often. This means looking for ways to understand, use, and incorporate into theories all the various views from religion, politics, and even “crazy” folks and other species of all shapes and sizes and ages. This means always approaching science as being openly enthusiastic and welcoming to new ideas, anecdotes, and perspectives. (An anecdote etymologically means “data that is not yet well known” and more commonly means “data from a single source”.)
This doesn’t, however, mean taking everything everyone expresses “literally”, because what you think they mean might not be what they think they mean. :-) Which is why I believe that one of the primary goals of science will soon be coming up with a way to clarify meaning right from the start, so that we have a more universal tool for gathering data about personal experiences. That way when someone says they are in love, have seen God, are afraid of Republicans or Democrats, or enjoy lying in a meadow under blue skies and puffy clouds, we will have a more effective way to translate those expressions into a more objective view that is more about the external reality of these things that some people call love, God, meadows, skies, and clouds, than about the individual’s own internal experiences, definitions, and symbols…
In service of this more objective way to communicate and translate meaning, I offer the idea of using the basic premise of Pascal’s triangle as a way to sort physical, emotional, intellectual and intellectual experiences in a systematic way. By using the idea of first combining everything into one whole, at the top, then systematically dividing that whole into parts and then combining those parts with each other in all the different possible ways, then every possible combination of elements will eventually be included as we move down the triangle. This process gives science a way to recognize, define, and locate every single subjective viewpoint that any instrument — organic or synthetic — could ever possibly measure and report. It may not be easy to learn to translate human expressions into such a basic mathematical language, but it’s well worth working on it if we want to truly understand and explain reality in the most objective way, incorporating all of humankind’s different subjective perspectives into one grand theory of everything. And if we can successfully send humans from the Earth to the moon and back again, alive!, then I think we can successfully learn to translate human communication into a scientifically and mathematically precise language.
So, starting at the top with the universal set of “The All”, I suggest we use “negative” (-) and “positive” (+) as the way to split everything into the two categories at the next level down. (Negative and positive being purely mathematical, non-emotional, symbols designating the two different sets of things in reality.) And that means that the third level down has three possible sets of things , which we can call purely negative stuff (-), both negative and positive stuff (-+), and purely positive stuff (+). Given this process of division and recombination, what kinds of things do you think fit into the categories at the second and third levels down? Is negative “emptiness” or “matter” or “0° Kelvin” or “contraction”? Or something else? Is positive “fullness” or “energy” or “∞° Kelvin” or “expansion”? And then how do you think we should define what happens when we further divide those two sets and recombine them into three?
I’m all ears!