Kelvin’s Blunder: Measure Everything

The idea that knowledge is only of observables, and observables can be measured are both important drivers of policies and business and terribly wrong.

An Islamic WorldView

For reasons explained briefly in “The Emergence of Logical Positivism“, the Western intellectual tradition came to the disastrously wrong conclusions that (1) Only science can provide us with valid knowledge, and (2) science is based on observables, unlike religion which is based on unobservables. Furthermore, since qualitative aspects of observables are often subjective, a preference for the objectivity created by measurement was expressed by Lord Kelvin as follows:

When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science

This idea, that everything worth knowing, can be reduced to numerical measurements, has led Western intellectuals to attempt to measure everything, without concern about whether…

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