Contrary to what most people think, scientists proceed in precisely the same way – they select data on the basis of a preconceived model – partly objective, probably partly subjective too, in terms of which the data are subsequently interpreted.
Indeed, scientific theories, rather than being reached ‘inductively’, in accordance with empiricist theories, must be regarded as postulated, as the most probable explanation of certain data on the basis of their specific model of the world about them, in other words, deduced from this model.
In this way, Le Verrier postulated, by purely mathematical means, the then unknown planet Neptune as an explanation of certain otherwise inexplicable disturbances of other planets. Later, “. . . when the German astronomer Gelle directed his telescope, to the spot in the night sky that had been figured out by Le Verrier, he saw there a tiny speck that changed its position slightly from night to night, and the planet Neptune was discovered (1846)”. 
Dirac postulated the positron as the most elegant way of explaining certain atomic phenomena inexplicable in terms of existing variables.
Epicurus and his disciple Lucretius postulated the atom, and Bohr postulated the modern version of this ancient hypothesis. Watson and Crick proceeded in the same manner when developing the genetic code, as is revealed in their book, The Double Helix.
These discoveries are well-known. There is a tendency, however, to regard them as scientific curiosities – and as exceptions to the general rule that science develops inductively by the meticulous examination of impartially accumulated data, in accordance with the Empiricist thesis. I think that on the contrary, they are merely striking examples of what is, the only possible method of science.
Every scientific proposition is in fact a hypothesis. The objective value of this hypothesis depends on that of the model on which it is based. If it were based on a fully integrated general model of the biosphere then it would have considerable value. But such a model is not available. More often than not, for reasons we shall look into later, it is based not only on incomplete information but on incomplete subjective information. A scientist’s interpretation of a situation tends to be that which, above all, satisfies his personal psychological requirements. The distinction often made between ‘scientific facts’ and ‘mere hypotheses’ is totally unjustified epistemologically. If knowledge is acquired by observation (and observation, as I have shown is but an interpretation of data, i.e., a hypothesis) knowledge must consist of hypotheses.
Consider one of Lord Zuckerman’s ‘scientific facts’, taken from the same speech at Stockholm. He points to the “increasing physical and intellectual violence to which we are all subjected” and attributes this to the frustration of not being able to increase our standard of living fast enough. He points to the disparity of living standards between and within countries and argues that if this were reduced, violence would cease to be a problem.
This is clearly one of a large number of possible interpretations of the available data, not that which is best reconcilable with available knowledge, but that which, best suits his desire to prove that the Limits to Growth argument is wrong and that economic growth is necessary.
What is more, this hypothesis will be influenced by all sorts of subjective factors such as what one expects to see, what other people persuade us we should be seeing, etc. Perception and, by the same token, the interpretations it gives rise to are purely subjective and bear no relationship whatsoever with the objective measuring rod which Empiricists make them out to be. 
On the contrary, rather than provide objective information on the thing perceived, perception tends to provide instead, objective information on the personality of the perceiver – as is pointed out by Witken who wrote a book to prove this point.
Perception also is functionally the same thing as computer simulation. Simulation is selective since it only deals with data which can be interpreted in such a way that they give rise to a change in the value of one or more of the variables used in the model. The implications of this change are calculated in terms of all the other changes this must bring about, to the value of the other variables in terms of which it is interpreted.
There is a big difference between the two processes however – for perception is simulation on a purely subjective model and cannot thereby provide a basis for building up objective information or knowledge, while computer simulation is supposed to be objective. This is of course the ultimate reason for rejecting Empiricism. The implications however are obvious. What is required is a means of by-passing perception, of replacing it with an objective means of building up information. But is this possible?
A first step is to replace gradually the subjective vocabulary which we have inherited as part of our cultural heritage and in terms of which we persist in describing the world about us. I refer to such words as ‘mind,’ ‘consciousness,’ and practically all the other terms used by Empiricist philosophers, not to mention sociologists.
This has been happening for some time. Indeed, with the development of knowledge, man’s view of the world becomes couched in ever less
subjective terms, i.e., terms which are ever less those of our own personal experience. As Konrad Lorenz says, “Every step of knowledge in physics means ‘taking off a pair of glasses’.” 
Von Bertalanffy writes:
“It is an essential characteristic of science that it progressively de-anthropomorphizes, that it progressively eliminates those traits which are due to specifically human experiences. Physics necessarily starts with the sensory experience of – the eye, the ear, the thermal sense, etc., and thus builds up fields like optics, acoustics, the theory of heat, which correspond to the realms of sensory experience.
Soon, however, these fields fuse into such that do not have any more relation to the ‘visualizable’ or ‘intuitable’: optics and electricity fuse into electro-magnetic theory; mechanics and the theory of heat into statistical thermodynamics, etc.” 
Thus as science advances, the variables used are further and further divorced from those of our experience. As one would expect, it is in modern physics, the most advanced of all disciplines, that this tendency is most accentuated. Thus the physicist’s concept of ‘time’ as dependent on velocity and as inseparable from space, the pi-meson with its lifespan of two millionth of a second; the electron that weighs only a billionth of a billionth of a gram; and anti-particles that may run counter to time and that may originate in the future and become extinct in the past – all of these are obviously totally outside the world of our experience.
Another great barrier to the unification of Science is the practice of dividing up knowledge into separate disciplines each dealing with a set of things that appear to have something in common. This is a direct consequence of the adoption of Empiricism.
The biosphere is a single integrated system made up of closely integrated and hierarchically organised sub-systems and sub-subsystems. It is dynamic, not static, and is therefore the product of a single integrated process. Quite clearly it cannot be understood in terms of these separate disciplines.
Indeed changes occurring within a specific field must inevitably cause changes in other fields about which a specialist would have very little knowledge. In addition changes in other fields would also cause changes in his field which he would have no means of understanding. As a result specialists are not only incapable of interpreting and predicting changes occurring outside their particular field of study but also, and this is possibly even worse, within it.
This means that the charges condoned and even proposed by specialists and in particular that brand deferred to as experts, are based on what may occasionally be objective information, but are necessarily only part of the relevant objective information and this, as already shown cannot serve as the basis of action. These arguments may be true but they must of necessity present only part of the truth. Modern Science is not exact at present but an accumulation of half-truths – and it is on the basis of these half-truths that scientists trying to control the world, and as a result bringing about its annihilation.
How can we get round, this? As we will see to design a unified Science using a general behaviour model is relatively simple. I could provide you with the basis of it right now. But it would never be accepted let alone made use of. One reason is that it would require multi-disciplinary cooperation.
Unfortunately, specialists in the different disciplines have developed different terminologies and methodologies and contact between them is at best, impossible save on a superficial basis. This situation is getting worse rather than better. Prestige is inspired by becoming more technological and more esoteric. What we are in fact witnessing is the operation of a basic technological tendency towards originality. Non-specialists must be kept out of one’s territory, and ambitious men go so far as to carve a niche in their own academic territory on the slightest pretext. Look at cybernetics. Here at last was a tool which could be used for unifying the sciences. It was not to be. Not only has it become increasingly uneconomical, but its domain has already been sliced up by ambitious academics. Von Bertalanffy called his theory General Systems, Forrester Systems Dynamics, and I am sure there will be lots more. In this way, instead of merging the various disciplines it has actually given rise to at least three new-ones.
Why we can predict the failure of multi-disciplinary research, with total confidence, however, is that the different disciplines having evolved in vacuo, are not compatible with each other.
Modern Economics is incompatible with both Anthropology and Ecology. Modern Medicine is irreconcilable with Evolutionary Theory. Modern Dentistry with its dependence on X-Rays with Radiobiology etc.
For effective multi-disciplinary work to occur, specialists would have to admit that many of the principles on which their disciplines are based are in fact false. Can we expect them to do so? Can we really expect people who have established a reputation in a particular field after years of hard work to admit that their work is based on faulty assumptions and has thereby been in vain? Of course not. They can be counted upon to rationalise any extraneous information which appears to menace their professional status in such a way that it will cease to do so.
This is precisely how the experts have reacted to Limits to Growth and our own Blueprint for Survival. The mental acrobatics they are willing to resort to in order to rationalise their own world-view in the face of massive evidence which renders it objectively untenable is truly astonishing, and in a way rather pathetic. The effect of this natural psychological tendency however is to render multidisciplinary research largely impracticable.Back to top
The empiricist thesis also leads to atomisation, i.e., to the breaking down of things into their constituent parts for the purpose of studying them in controlled laboratory conditions.
I am not suggesting that this is not useful, only that it is not sufficient. This provides information on the constituent sub-systems, but it provides no information on the role, played by the system in the larger systems of which it is a part. Often this is not even conceivable since we are dealing with systems of a large and diffuse nature such as human societies and eco-systems which simply cannot be examined in controlled laboratory conditions. By looking at the parts however one can get very little idea of the whole.
What is particularly significant is that many scientists ignore the very existence of such systems. Indeed, the very concept of an ecosystem is probably less than 30 years old.
If a set of systems are part of a larger one it means that they are subjected to a particular set of constraints which will enable them to act for certain purposes at least as a unit. Order is in fact defined as the influence of the whole over the parts. The fact that we have not recognised that we are part of a larger unit called an eco-system means that we are totally unaware of a whole set of constraints which we must observe if we are not to destroy the larger system of which we are but the differentiated parts.
Even more astonishing of course is the fact that the importance of the social system is not generally understood by the scientific community. It is generally considered that any group of heterogeneous people can constitute a society so long as they occupy the same area. The notion that a society is a behavioural unit in its own right, a natural system in the sense that a biological organism is a natural system, is accepted by but a small minority of thinking people with a knowledge of the functioning of the tribal societies in which man has been organised during 99 percent of his tenancy of this planet. Yet this is unquestionably so, and the fact that it has not been accepted means that we have ignored yet another set of extraordinarily important constraints to which our behaviour is normally subjected.
To understand the behaviour of man without reference to the larger system of which he is part, is like trying to understand the behaviour of a cell without reference to the organ or tissue and the biological organism to which it belongs. It is, in fact, quite obviously impossible.
Thus, the ills that industrialised society is suffering from such as crime, delinquency, alcoholism, drugs, etc., cannot conceivably be understood by our scientists – unless it be first postulated that society is a natural system which provides its members with the requisite social environment. Only then can these ills be correctly interpreted as the pathological manifestation of social disintegration, and from the point of view of the victims, as the symptoms of social deprivation. Instead these ills will continue to be interpreted as the signs of material deprivation: – a convenient diagnosis in a society geared to the production of material goods, but one which, by causing further industrialisation must lead to further social disintegration and correspondingly aggravate the ills which this must give rise to.Back to top
In addition, one cannot understand the working of a system by examining it, without reference to its past. For a system is not autonomous. It has inherited a model of its relationship with its environment which provides it with a goal-structure and a set of instructions on how to achieve these goals.
As I have already stated, this model reflects the system’s experience over a very long period. In this sense a system exists in time as well as in space. That, which is visible to us, and which is actually there, is but a part of it, a very small one at that, and to understand its functioning it should be best regarded as only a link in a spatio-temporal continuum. This is in fact the case of a traditional human society. A tribe is made up of the living, the dead and the yet to be born. Only in this way can it display continuity or stability. When a society disintegrates, it does so in time as well as in space.
Living in the cultural void created by industrialisation we are not only alienated from our fellow men, but also from our ancestors and increasingly from our children. In fact, we are temporal as well as spatial, isolates. What is more, the information which a system has inherited from its past can give rise to a very large number of possible systems of which it constitutes but one possibility. Each cell for instance starts off with the full complement of hereditary information which would enable it to form part of any specialised issue within the organism of which it is part. Slowly it learns to fulfil a particular function, and thereby comes to make use of a specialised part – constituting but a minute fraction of available information. The same occurs at other levels of organisation.
A population, for instance, makes use of but a minute fraction of the information contained in the gene-pool. No system can be understood however, unless one takes into consideration all the alternative systems which the information its development was based on, could have given rise to.
The unification of science must involve building a model of the behaviour of that all-encompassing system which is the biosphere, and as we have seen, atomisation, a methodology indisassociably linked with empiricism cannot enable one to understand the behaviour of such a system.Back to top
It can be argued that any ‘deficiency’ in perception can be made up for- by measurement. Measurement in fact has become a veritable fixation among scientists today, so much so that it is seriously held that propositions which cannot be measured, cannot thereby fall within the scope of science. Unfortunately, a number of important variables cannot be measured. How does one measure the information in the cultural pattern of a traditional society? How does one measure the bonds which hold together the different members of a family and which are extended to hold together the human community?
If only a fraction of the factors which would have to be taken into account in a general model of behaviour, are measurable, and can thereby be made use of for the formulation of scientific propositions this is tantamount to admitting that scientific behaviour must, by necessity, be based on partial information only – and cannot thereby serve as a basis for adaptive responses.
This is particularly true of the Limits to Growth model of Man’s present predicament. One of the main criticisms levelled at this stage was that the values given to the variables were not based on sufficient evidence.
The basic argument of Limits to Growth however is not affected by the discovery that the world’s resources of copper, bauxite or manganese are higher than Meadows thought, nor for that matter that the environment can absorb more of the waste products of industrial processes than he and his colleagues had estimated. The model simply reveals that our society is heading in the wrong direction. The further it continues in this direction the greater will be our commitment to the use of resources which will be in increasingly short supply, and the greater the amount of waste which it will have to consign to an environment with an increasingly limited capacity to absorb it. The lesson to be drawn from this study is that we must cease moving in this direction, in fact that we must move in a totally opposite one.Back to top
Interpretation of measurements
There is no point in measuring things unless one knows what their value should be. Yet one cannot know the ideal value of any variable in a model representing a given system, unless one knows what are the values of the other variables and what are the relationships between them. An individual measurement is simply o f no value.
What is important is to determine the principles underlying the functioning of a natural system, to establish what are the -relevant variables and how they are related. What the actual values should be is the function of so many petty technical factors, that it is not in measurements which conflict with cherished subjective beliefs, tend to be interpreted or rationalised in such a way that they cease to do so. Defenders of industrialisation still maintain for instance that the cancer rate is not increasing in industrial society. What has increased, they maintain, is our ability to diagnose it-This myth is only being exploded as we are beginning to know more about the health of tribal societies.
In the same way Zuckerman refuses to admit that lead poisoning is becoming an increasing menace. He writes: “The risk of being poisoned today is probably as small as at any time since lead started to be mined. But we have now developed the ability to detect the presence of this element. And of others, like mercury in very small concentrations.”  Measurements, in fact, are but precise means of detection. As such, they provide data, not information. This is obtained by interpreting them in the light of a largely subjective model.Back to top
In addition the measurement of the parts of a system in isolation from each other is a vain task, for purely logistical reasons. The number of interrelationships between them simply defies calculation. Let us consider the problem of pollution. Is it in fact possible to examine in laboratory conditions the precise effect of introducing a new chemical substance into our environment? The answer is no. Man has already put over half a million pollutants into the environment and there are several thousand new ones every year.
The World Health Organisation, according to Laird, receives 2,000 to 3,000 new ones each year for examination. WHO does not have any research facilities of its own so that these products must be farmed out to be examined by independent laboratories. For both financial and administrative reasons less than ten per cent of them are examined in this way. What makes the problem particularly intractable is the synergy which often obtains between different combinations of pollutants.
Scientists are constantly discovering new synergic effects. . For instance, it was found that the combination of Benyspyrene with carbon dioxide can produce lung cancer in experimental animals. Also animals infected with flu virus can contract lung cancer if at the same time they have been exposed to artificial smog.
DDT is regarded as presenting little hazard to marine life by virtue of the fact that it is only very slightly soluble in water. However, it appears to be something like ten thousand, times more soluble in oil, which means that the combination of DDT and oil can prove lethal to many forms of sea life. 
Very disturbing is the synergy between asbestos and cigarette smoke. It has been estimated that asbestos workers who smoke have a 92 times greater risk of dying of lung cancer than men who neither work with asbestos nor smoke. 
In addition, it is logistically impractical to examine the long-term effect of sub-lethal doses of the different pollutants. Yet these are often as important if not more so than the more spectacular effects of large and sudden doses. For instance, a few parts per million of DDT in water can upset the temperature regulating mechanism of young salmon. 
Sub-lethal amounts of DDT can be lethal when associated with falling temperature and starvation. This apparently explains why in a river in New Brunswick in 1969 there was considerable mortality among salmon during the cold weather that followed an earlier fish kill attributed to high levels of DDT. 
Sub-lethal dosage of different pollutants can also have subtle effects on all sorts of behavioural mechanisms, on the ability of fish for instance to find their way about, or to detect the presence of other fish. Vorster considers “that the subtle effects of CHS on avian reproduction have a greater overall impact on bird populations than an acute dose on more indirect mortality, even though a bird kill may seem more- spectacular.” Back to top