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#20891 - 04/25/07 10:29 AM Is Science the answer?
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
I am responding to a quote by redwener in another thread and thought it might generate some debate.

Originally Posted By: redewenur
Science, through its objectivity, has the potential to unify humanity. Ignorance has the potential to destroy it.


This is where science clearly steps over into the realm of faith. This is Scientism. What evidence do you have that science will unite all humanity? What evidence do you have that, in real terms, science is all that objective? To say that it is interested in objective knowledge is certainly not the same as saying it is always objective in its application. It is clearly not. Especially when you get close to the societal issues affecting humanity. It becomes a minefield of subjective belief.

Take for example the thread I started on the Narcissism test. Its veracity was immediately (and rightly so) questioned. How do you actually get at any of these issues? If we are creating a society of people that are obsessed with self and have become praise junkies, then we have an issue. Even from an evolutionary point of view, all kinds of mechanisms such as guilt, maternal/paternal drives, the need for intimate contact with others and so on, have arisen so that we can have cohesive groups that afford a better chance of survival. In a modern society it is essential that we cultivate people who are not self obsessed and are more willing to look outwards to their social responsibilities than working so they can have the latest ipod. Otherwise where do all the future scientists, philanthropists and politicians, who are willing to put themselves out for the greater good, come from.

If we have a world of scientists who are interested in personal wealth and acclaim more than the pure social good that can be achieved, then we have a real problem. We no longer have a science that will go where the issues are or even where the greater good can be done – we end up with a science that goes where there is the greatest funding and the greatest chance of getting your face on Newsweek.

Some have a concern that science has already reached this place and is therefore losing its overall objectivity as it becomes a more political and financial beast and dare I say it, prone to the curse of the modern day cult of celebrity.

Putting all of this aside, there is still the question of the prevailing paradigm that changes on an ongoing basis. For example, our understanding of the brain is going through faster changes than the H151 virus. And yet with each iteration, we think we have a good enough understanding to be prescriptive about human behaviour. We are currently seeing research that is blowing apart ideas of neurology that have been with us for the last 30 years or so. And more importantly we are going back to previous understandings in some areas – ideas that have been discarded.

So how do we know that any particular scientific thought system is correct or reliable for making proclamation about human behaviour – and it is in the realm of human behaviour that we face most problems as a species. Is the discipline of science going to solve these issues? Or are these things so very complex that they are more like art than science? Could it even be that framing humanity in scientific reductionist terms could actually exacerbate our problems? We are not robots and we do not behave in logical ways and like QT we are not entirely predictable. Unlike QT we may not even be predictable at macro levels. Managing ourselves in those terms may not get at the issues.

It surprises me when people put science on a pedestal and see it as the answer to all our problems. To say it somehow has the power to unite all humanity surprises me more. Science is in the hands of subjective people with the same needs and drives as the rest of us – they also play with things that have massive potential to destroy us or wreak havoc on whole nations. Or does science want to disown things like the motor car? Has science any more ability to see the long term effects of what it does than anyone else – did it have any idea that the car would pollute the planet until the car actually did start to pollute the planet? And if it did, what was done? Science is a mixed bag. It is best not to forget this and not get too carried away.

History tells us that we have continually seen solutions to our problems and that if those solutions are uncritically adopted then those very solutions have caused further problems. Scientism will not serve us well, but a proper understanding of what science can and cannot do will serve us greatly.

The saying ‘who polices the police’ is apt – ‘who performs objective research on science and scientists’ or do we just have faith that they will ‘unite all humanity’ and solve our problems.

Blacknad.

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#20893 - 04/25/07 10:41 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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That's very good Blacknad. I especially liked:

"Even from an evolutionary point of view, all kinds of mechanisms such as guilt, maternal/paternal drives, the need for intimate contact with others and so on, have arisen so that we can have cohesive groups that afford a better chance of survival."

And:

"a proper understanding of what science can and cannot do will serve us greatly."

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#20904 - 04/25/07 03:03 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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I agree with you Blacknad, but I think it depends on how one interprets the original message to which you're responding.

"Science, through its objectivity, has the potential to unify humanity. Ignorance has the potential to destroy it."

I think science is important. I think it's something we need to understand well. While I appreciate the attempted objectivity of science, I don't think that that is its greatest virtue. I'm convinced that science has the potential to help us avoid a 'lot' of needless suffering, but clearly science is not the only thing we need.

Most of what we as individuals know is not logical or scientific. Some of what we 'know' is bound to be false. Science is useful for helping us extricate ourselves from that - it doesn't guarantee that we can figure out mistakes, it only provides a potential method for recovery.

Science doesn't - and can't, using fallibilism - guarantee Truth.

But a thing - an opinion or an idea - doesn't have to be scientific or logical to be useful or desirable. But it's important to know what science is, how it works, what its limitations are (to reiterate what you said), but ALSO to understand that other kinds of 'knowledge' are also subject to error - and the errors in those kinds of knowledge cannot always be overturned so easily as those of science.



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#20907 - 04/25/07 03:50 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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Wow, Right on; to all of this.

As I've said in many threads "Science is just a tool."

Getting cooperation to use the tool is a whole 'nother story.

re: ‘who performs objective research on science and scientists,’ Social Scientist could go a long way to helping scientist and politicians to cooperate.

In the end it is the politicians who have to cooperate if we're going to use science to say-- save the Earth from an impending asteroid hit (or GW, or....).

That would be politicians with support from religions and similar social institutions, I suppose.

What a wonderful thread, Blacknad.

~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20908 - 04/25/07 03:51 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
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Loc: Coventry, England
Thanks Terry - I was expecting more critiscism though - come on - let's have a healthy punch up over this smile

TFF, I agree with you completely - your words are very balanced.

And your last point - I presume you are talking about religion, amongst other things - I agree completely. Dogmas that are based upon nothing more than things like tradition and a subjective interpretation of ancient writings are notoriously stubborn in reacting to new knowledge and this is (just one) of their weaknesses. Scientific knowledge it much more fluid and this is its great strength - and the fact that it relieves much suffering when at it's best, i.e. it has a definable and demonstrable benefit.

I would try to balance this with the damage that I think SOME technology has done to society. It centres mainly around television and satellite and other forms of entertainment that I think have had an adverse effect upon social cohesion. People are less likely now to have strong links to their local community and even their families - to the point that we now have to pay experts to talk to us when we have problems, which was a role traditionally filled by friends and family. Incidentally studies have shown that people recover from trauma as quickly by spending quality time with family as they do by engaging mental health workers.

This whole problem is partially caused by a preoccupation with technology and gadgetry. We simply spend more time in front of a screen that face to face with real humans. Technology is both a blessing and a curse - there are more positive benefits than you can count, but we also live in an unhappier age than we did 40 years ago if depression, suicide, crime, drug abuse figures are to be believed, and one of the abiding themes of modern society seems to be loneliness and a desire for meaningful, intimate contact with others. We also have a tremendous drive to get the latest gadget and have replaced the old class system with one based upon the fashion you can afford and the products you own - this is partially driven by technological innovation.

With TV, I remember a study showed that when it was introduced into a tribal group their young females started to experience eating disorders for the first time within six months. So it opened up the world to them but also brought problems - blessing and curse.

I would ask: Who is going to grapple with these issues and provide solutions? Who is going to understand the different impacts that science is having upon society (for ill and for good)?

For example, science has had a reductionist effect upon the individual - it tells us that we are no more valuable than anything else - it tells us that we will be extinct like everything else - it tells us that we are just a bunch of evolutionary driven desires and that beauty, love, justice, mercy, evil, good, and so on are just illusionary and are simply human constructs - it tells me that the deep and seemingly noble love I feel for my daughter is no more than hormones and proteins pushing my behaviour and that the idea of a central me that is in control is simply illusory.

The upshot of this is that people are left in the position where they are prone to existential angst and nihilism. The scientific view has stripped us of real meaning – if everything I do will be forgotten and is irrelevant then what is the point?

Now this may be true, (though I suspect not) and ‘the truth shall set you free’. But what do we replace this with? When we strip away meaning and leave some (obviously not all) to think that hedonism and the serving of self is the only meaningful response, are we surprised if people become more inward looking and clamour after short term highs, living for the moment and the next PS3 game that will distract me from this hard and crappy life for the next few hours? I’m overplaying it slightly here smile

If scientific progress is not to inflict immense harm on us and the global psyche then we must engage our best minds to think about how we deal with the fallout from knew knowledge, and construct a new and meaningful narrative that will bring us together instead of allowing the age of the individual to continue to grow.

The problem may be that there is no profit in it.

I may be wrong.

It seems that the strength of religion is that it does try to grapple with these issues and has mainly sought after values that bring cohesion to society such as self-sacrifice, loving your neighbour, putting other's needs before your own etc. And it often uses such terms as love, charity, mercy, responsibility, duty, stewardship, forgiveness, honesty and so on. These things have been seen as concepts that help make 'good and docile little citizens, but I think that we now understand their value in the breach.

What does the modern education system do whilst it tells children that they are just a vessel for their selfish genes? How does it engender a caring and compassionate persona?

In England our children are stabbing each other to death at an alarming rate and the expulsion of children under five years of age from school is at an all time record because they are uncontrollable – drug use in under-tens is almost the norm.

What is the solution and what part can science play? It is an honest question. Science has some of our very best minds - how do we engage them in these issues that are not as super-sexy as working with particle accelerators, but just as needed. This is the problem maybe, our genius is engaged elsewhere and we are left with the dense politician to sort society.

Blacknad.

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#20910 - 04/25/07 04:11 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Mike Kremer Offline

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Originally Posted By: Blacknad

"This is where science clearly steps over into the realm of faith. This is Scientism"


Woaaa back..."Scientism?" What hell is Scientism? I hope you are not suggesting that it is some sort of new religion.
I further hope that you are not suggesting that Goverments should place their faith in scientists to rule a country, a panacea for solving all our intractable problems. That word Scientism sounds very much like it.
Science, is able to give us the ultimate truth upon the working of physical property on this earth. Whether it be a manmade machine, or the use and final effects of a particular proccess producing a hostile enviroment.
Science may be an ongoing truth, able to predict the future, of any human process.
But that does not mean it should ever be classed as 'Scientism the ultimate answer". There are too many interactive processes that affect each other going on, to allow science to rule. The societal issues/ills affecting humanity can only be lessened, even cured by good Goverment acting upon feedback from the people. Science should be used in an advisory capacity by goverments only. Were Science to rule it would go the same way as Religion, downwards, maybe even quicker, since it holds the most complicated facts and processes of knowlege that just cannot be combined for the good of mankind, due to the way we pass laws, and rule.
Science is the ultimate truth. There maybe many ways to to achieve a certain project. But there is only one way which is the best way, in terms of efficaciousness towards the human being and our future.
Science should not govern, any more than religion should.
Goverment should be in the hands of the elected, who take note of the changes that happen around them, and act accordingly even use science where benifits are possible.
May write more later, but got to go out now.

--------------------
"You will never find a real Human being - even in a mirror." .....Mike Kremer.
.
_________________________
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.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#20912 - 04/25/07 04:24 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
What is Scientism? It is something to be avoided -that's the way I took it.
re: "This is where science clearly steps over into the realm of faith. This is Scientism."

I like science and rely on it as a tool, but statements such as "Science is the ultimate truth," seem to elevate science beyond the status of tool, up to the status of a belief system, Scientism.
Saying, "Science is the ultimate truth," makes people who see ultimate truth elswhere, recoil against science.

At most, I would say 'Science seeks ultimate truth.'

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20914 - 04/25/07 05:14 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: samwik
At most, I would say 'Science seeks ultimate truth.'


Samwick,

Totally agree, and it does a very good job of it too. Again, it is about making science work for us, and not letting science become an all encompassing dogma.

Religion fails most when it becomes powerful and monolithic. Science will be no different. It is a tool to improve our lot and understand our universe and even possibly the nature of existence. It is not THE truth. Again, it has it's subjectivity, it's corruption, and all sorts of pressures that keep it from delivering ultimate objective answers.

Science is never value-free.

Blacknad.

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#20915 - 04/25/07 05:15 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Blacknad. I guess I should be honoured that your making such a meal of my two sentences grin

Your paragraph, above, about narcissism, seems misplaced here. It looks like a reply that belongs in the thread that you mentioned. However, my post in that thread, together with this one, serves as an adequate response.

Blacknad: "Scientific knowledge it much more fluid and this is its great strength..."

That, of course is very true. It's "fluidity" derives from the famous "scientific method" (though it's obviously not famous enough). The truths of science, although provisional and subject to frequent fine tuning, are universal. Because of this my statement was: "Science, through its objectivity, has the potential to unify humanity"

It isn't my intention to imply that other factors aren't involved. That much might be clear from reading my other posts. My intention is to contrast the unifying aspect of science with the divisive effects of religious dogmatism. As you said -

Blacknad: "Dogmas that are based upon nothing more than things like tradition and a subjective interpretation of ancient writings are notoriously stubborn in reacting to new knowledge and this is (just one) of their weaknesses."

Exactly. "Notoriously stubborn" because such dogma is not derived from anything like the scientific method but rather, it is claimed, derives from a "divine" source. Furthermore, and more seriously, such dogmas represent a dangerous ignorance that often finds itself in conflict with the equally dangerous ignorance of other dogmas! Because of this, my statement was: "Ignorance has the potential to destroy it [humanity].

Blacknad: "What evidence do you have that, in real terms, science is all that objective?"

Are you serious?

Blacknad: "This is where science clearly steps over into the realm of faith. This is Scientism."

Am I to take it that I struck a nerve, Blacknad? This does appear to be an extraordinarily defensive posture. No, it's not scientism, and no, I don't take offence,

From Wiki:

"Scientism is a term often used today as a pejorative to describe someone of holding the view that science has primacy over all other interpretations of life such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations...Today, the term is often used against vocal critics of religion"

_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#20916 - 04/25/07 05:19 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer
Woaaa back..."Scientism?" What the hell is Scientism?


Now that's more like it.

I think we all kind of know each other well enough now to have a spirited and lively debate without it degenerating into nastiness.

Cheers Mike - you go boy! smile

Blacknad.

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#20918 - 04/25/07 05:28 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
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Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Blacknad: "What evidence do you have that, in real terms, science is all that objective?"

Are you serious?


Red,

Yes I am serious. Peer review IMO is flawed. The idea that nothing can be taken seriously until it is peer reviewed - and what gets peer reviewed is not straightforward - if you disagree with the consensus you will find it harder to get your work 'out there'.

How is this objective? This is often about editors of scientific publications and their reputations and own predilections.

You only need to look here to see what kind of reception you will get if you don't agree with certain people's take on things. How many anti-anthropomorphic global warming people have left in disgust at their treatment? How are scientists any more objective than anyone else when it comes to such matters?

In some cases 'peer review' has more to do with 'peer pressure' than anything else.

You cannot confuse the objective methodology of science with its overall subjective application within society.

Now I really do expect a kicking. Is telling scientists that peer review is flawed the same as running into a mosque and telling the Iman's that Mohammad was a pervert? Which one am I more likely to come out alive from?

Blacknad.


Edited by Blacknad (04/25/07 09:16 PM)

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#20919 - 04/25/07 05:46 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Scientism is the veneer of science, without the substance. It's something that has the appearance of science, uses scientific jargon, some parody of its methods, but is not science.

I'm not sure I agree with blacknad's use of the term there. (Not saying I disagree, just that I'm not sure.) I don't think the phenomenon he's talking about is scientism, so much as a misunderstanding of science.

Science,imo, is a necessary thing for human progress. It's not absolutely necessary, but it's necessary in the sense that its proper application can save us a lot of heartache. However, science is not sufficient for human progress. Other things are needed - drive, imagination, courage, balance, values, a sense of 'oughtness.'


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#20920 - 04/25/07 05:46 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
redewenur Offline
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Yes, we're confronted with politics and human nature. The point, however, is that the scientific method, per se, is objective. Dogma? Well, that's a non-starter in the objectivity race.

I stand by my original statements.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#20921 - 04/25/07 06:18 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Canuck Offline
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Registered: 03/16/07
Posts: 203
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Wow - great post Blacknad. Yes a kicking might be headed your way. Not from me though.

I think the scientific method can be objective and usually is, I just don't think science is always objective. But I think the loss of objectivity has more to do with political decisions being made while the science is still ongoing.

You bring up climate change as an example. I truly do think this has left the science field entirely, and is almost a wholly political discussion now. Why? Because politicians are making decisions based on it. Canada just announced we'll be banning incandescent light bulbs by 2012 (why bother worrying about the mercury in the fluorescent ones). We have the IPCC allowing bureaucrats to wordsmith the final documents. People are ostracized for asking questions on the assumptions surrounding the CO2/temperature relationship, or even the basic question of how average global temperatures are estimated.

When things like this are occurring, it's evidence to me that the scientific method has left the building. Once the politicos start using the science in their election platforms, the topic becomes politicized, and objectivity is a thing of the past.

So to sum up - the scientific method can be objective, if the topic at hand is far enough removed from the political process.

Although there's always the bias introduced by the never-ending quest for funding dollars......

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#20925 - 04/25/07 07:24 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Canuck]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Canuck
Although there's always the bias introduced by the never-ending quest for funding dollars......


Good post Canuck,

I think your last sentence is key to the debate. Science cannot separate itself from the frailty of human nature - but it is often touted as something that is objective and strangely the only human endeavor that is trustworthy. As we have seen here - 'Science is ultimate truth'.

The use of the phrase Scientism is not about attacking science. It is about the philosophical position that is clearly held by some that science is superior to all other methods of improving human experience. Or even that it is the only viable method of enacting change.

All I am saying is that science is incredibly powerful and important, but currently it has no real involvement in sorting out the societal woes that currently beset us and may in fact have contributed to them in some way.

I am not a religious nut who cannot accept the validity of modern scientific knowledge such as evolutionary theory. I love SAGG because it attracts some great and interesting people and I enjoy the discourse, but mainly because I love science - it's triumphs and it's massive potential excites me.

I just think it should clearly understand both it's strengths and weaknesses. This can only serve us well and will also serve science because it sometimes suffers with slightly poor PR. I don't want anything to stand in the way of what it can deliver.

Blacknad.


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#20926 - 04/25/07 07:44 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: redewenur
From Wiki:
"Scientism is a term often used today as a pejorative to describe someone of holding the view that science has primacy over all other interpretations of life such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations...Today, the term is often used against vocal critics of religion"


Red,

This is exactly what I mean by scientism. The last bit about religion, well, I don't really have a big problem with scientists attacking religion. Religion has much to answer for and it will not help itself if it doesn't take criticism on the chin and respond positively to it. It must make itself open to a reasoned critique.

I will of course try to defend the idea of God and the spiritual and a universe that to me seems designed, and that is only fair - but I will defend anyones right to give religion a verbal going over.

Thank you all for some great responses. TFF, I keep going back to your first post - it is so well balanced.

I'd love to invite you all round to my house for a cuppa and a good ol' debate smile

Blacknad.

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#20927 - 04/25/07 08:03 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Blacknad, of course your comments are influenced by your position as a defender of your faith, and your use of term the 'scientism' is appropriate rhetoric. I can understand that. I don't intend to give religion "a verbal going over". You are quite aware of it's failings, not least of which is the generation of violence in thought, word, and deed throughout the world.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#20934 - 04/25/07 11:02 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"In some cases 'peer review' has more to do with 'peer pressure' than anything else."
That could be true. I'm willing to accept that peer review is flawed. I'm not sure that it's quite so bad as you think. However, there is no perfect system. There are VASTLY more deserving papers that are available for publishing than there are reputable journals in which to publish them. But journals don't get to be reputable by publishing any crap that comes along. And, yes, there is probably a lot of subjectivity to the process - but without it, fellow scientists would waste a lot of time trying to figure out what makes sense and what doesn't.
There are people who demonstrate repeatedly that they don't even understand the basics - and then whine about how they can't get published - guys like Dembski, for example.

Behe, I notice, has most of his publications in an Italian journal - supposedly a good one, but apparently their peer review is a little less stringent than Science or Nature. Nothing to prevent these guys from publishing in lesser journals or in coming up with their own journals - surely they could get funding for such a project. But real scientists wouldn't buy into it. They'd continue to keep Science and Nature and Cell on their shelves - and eventually the ID mag would disappear as people realized it was just a vanity press with no new developments in actual science.

"I just think it should clearly understand both it's strengths and weaknesses. "

Entirely greed.


Edited by TheFallibleFiend (04/25/07 11:05 PM)

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#20942 - 04/26/07 04:11 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Blacknad wrote:

"Thanks Terry - I was expecting more critiscism though - come on - let's have a healthy punch up over this".

It's because I agree with 99% of what you say.

The only argument I have with you is:

"The scientific view has stripped us of real meaning – if everything I do will be forgotten and is irrelevant then what is the point?"

You answer thatt yourself:

"we must engage our best minds to think about how we deal with the fallout from new knowledge, and construct a new and meaningful narrative that will bring us together."

A new religion?

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#20950 - 04/26/07 09:57 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
I'll try to write more later, but one quick observation.

The objectivity/subjectivity thing started out comparing science and religion. Comparing different ways of knowing is very interesting to me and I think it is important to the topic.

This thread seems to have shifted to the object/subjectivity of the PROCESS of science itself, and not the CONCEPT of science as a way of knowing anymore. I've seen lots of discussion about the process of science and would rather avoid that road. smile

Later....
~~samwik

_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20951 - 04/26/07 11:19 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
samwik: "This thread seems to have shifted to the object/subjectivity of the PROCESS of science itself, and not the CONCEPT of science as a way of knowing anymore."

Yes, Sam. Blacknad hijacked the issue. He has a religious axe to grind - hence his eagerness for a "punch up" grin

That effectively ends the prospects of a reasonable argument of the original point.


_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#20957 - 04/26/07 06:46 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
You answer that yourself:

"we must engage our best minds to think about how we deal with the fallout from new knowledge, and construct a new and meaningful narrative that will bring us together."

A new religion?


Tezza,

Well it's easy to say, but I suspect more difficult to do - or it probably would have been done.

The difficulty is what narrative can science give?

"We are vessels for our genes?"

"We make enough progress so that the lucky few can leave the planet after terraforming Mars and escape earth's perilous future?"

"We take on our own evolution and see how far we can go?"

"We try to discover the Theory of Everything?"

"We try to make a paradise on Earth?"


The problem with these is that they are only unifying in as much as people decide to buy in to them. My current understanding of humanity tells me that this is entirely unlikely.

The other problem is that they are global drives and seem to offer little to the individual, who is unlikely to be the beneficiary of any of them. I suspect that none of them are powerful enough to unify and will not stop us raping each other.

The other point I would make is that if the drive to take control of our own evolution was strong enough then we would be doing it. Is Richard Dawkins religiously championing DIY evolution? If he isn't who will? It is something we do anyway, but is not a unifying narrative.

I don't see any narrative that will unite humanity except fear.

Sad to say, fear always works - when the planet is suffering the worst effects of Global Warming then we will unite against the common enemy. When a major pandemic reduces the population and ruins the world economy then we will unite (or jockey even more for power in the aftermath).

Sorry for being negative - just saying it as I see it.

The question then is:

"What will unite humanity in a common purpose?"

Blacknad.

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#20958 - 04/26/07 06:54 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Blacknad Offline
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
Yes, Sam. Blacknad hijacked the issue. He has a religious axe to grind - hence his eagerness for a "punch up" grin

That effectively ends the prospects of a reasonable argument of the original point.


Red,

That is so unfair. I am trying to dispassionately explore the issues. People can take it where they want and I will be happy to debate the points.

I am extremely interested in exploring the concept of science as a way of knowing.

The punch up I wanted was about people defending science as a completely objective way to understand the universe and more importantly ourselves. Only Mike Kremmer seemed to have an issue, so what can I do. I'm sure that when Dan has a look in then I will get a bloodied nose, but until then...

And if you think I am dissing science's ability as a unifying force so that I can say "Oh become Christians everybody and we'll live happily ever after," then you misunderestimate me. I know that religion will never unite the planet.

Blacknad.

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#20960 - 04/26/07 08:25 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
samwik Offline
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I am only speaking to the first page of this thread.
I reread it ~6 times (better each time) and finally I have something pithy to say (as opposed to lengthily lauding the many great points).

Applied science vs. Theoretical Science

I found that both "sides" of this thread are "right" if viewed alternatively through these 'lenses.'

Blacknad: That's some great thinking; I don't think I could have wrtten it better. I sure appreciate your effort and direction here.

As to the second page....
redewenur: I also agree with you (from a more applied sci. viewpoint). I disagree with your comment, "Yes, Sam. Blacknad hijacked the issue."
This is his thread to begin with; and I think he was only responding to others as the direction shifted from theoretical to applied science.

more soon I hope....

~SAMwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20963 - 04/26/07 09:29 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Revlgking Offline
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Excellent dialogue, so far. I am all for science when it is used as a tool, a servant, and not as our master.

The title of this thread prompts me to ask: What subjects, if any, are off limits to science? What is, and what is not, a science? If science is the answer, to what is it the answer?

BTW, the Good News (modern) version of Genesis 3:6 reads: "The woman (Eve) saw how beautiful the tree (of knowledge, science) was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise." Was Eve the first scientist?

Children and animals do not do science. Does this make them any less happy? Or more so?



_________________________
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#20965 - 04/26/07 09:45 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Rev,

I would not agree that children do not do science. They experiment with their surroundings all the time. Just last week my three year old daughter came in from the garden and wanted to know what the trails left by airplanes were so I tried to explain it in terms she could understand (badly) by talking about steam from a kettle. She then wanted to know why it didn't blow away like smoke does. I was chuffed to bits. She is doing what science starts off with - questioning our surroundings and forming relationships between the behaviour of different things.

Watch out for a Nobel Prize winner in 30 years time called Natasha Stephenson smile

Blacknad.

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#20967 - 04/26/07 10:49 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Tim Offline
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yes, i would agree with Blacknad on this one. Kids like to ask questions, and learn about the things around them. Why is the sky blue? Who made God? etc.
and of course innocent children are more happy than stained adults laugh
and i also think that there are areas that are "off-limits" to science

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#20971 - 04/26/07 11:32 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Tim]
Revlgking Offline
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I probably should have said: All Children do not do science...
Curious and bright children, old enough to wonder about things obviously do. Wonder is the beginning of philosophy, the beginning of science.

BTW, Tim, what is your answer to the question: Who made God? smile

BTW 2, I should add: Many adults do not do science.



Edited by Revlgking (04/26/07 11:39 PM)
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#20978 - 04/27/07 08:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Excellent dialogue, so far. I am all for science when it is used as a tool, a servant, and not as our master.

The title of this thread prompts me to ask: What subjects, if any, are off limits to science? What is, and what is not, a science? If science is the answer, to what is it the answer?

BTW, the Good News (modern) version of Genesis 3:6 reads: "The woman (Eve) saw how beautiful the tree (of knowledge, science) was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise." Was Eve the first scientist?

Children and animals do not do science. Does this make them any less happy? Or more so?


What's off limits? [more on that later, but for now...]
How about God. God is transendental. Science deals with the material. "Evidence for God" is an oxymoron.

Regarding Eve and the children, it is all about innocence and loss of innocence (wisdom).

Happier??
Guess it depends on which makes you happy; or maybe just getting a good balance of each, wisdom and innocence.

~SAM

p.s.
...also true for "who made God?" 'Who' is a material thing, God would be not.


Edited by samwik (04/27/07 08:29 AM)
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#20979 - 04/27/07 09:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Blacknad Offline
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What is off limits for science is a massive current debate. Dawkins certainly thinks that God is not off limits and that science clearly indicates that God is a fairy tale.

Other's such as John Polkinghorne also say that God is not off limits for science and point to fine tuning etc. and make the inference that God does exist.

Having read people from both sides of the argument, my own personal opinion is that the universe leads only to agnosticism and that anyone who finds anything else has not been doing 'value-free science' - they have brought their prior assumptions to the lab.

I hope the thread doesn't stick here though.

I am interested also in

1. The belief that scientific progress will be a panacea for all human ills.

What can we reasonably expect from science?

2. Science is the only way to understand the human animal and that an evolutionary understanding of ourselves is the best way forward.

We can take it as a foregone conclusion that evolutionary theory is correct. What I am really asking is, is it entirely helpful to see all human behaviour throught he prism of evolutionary drives? Are there aspects of behaviour that have arisen without a driver simply through the complexity of our brains (emergent properties) and through our modern environment.

I obviously know that any idea of a spiritual aspect to our behaviour is clearly off limits here.

I hope I am not hijacking this thread and will happily explore further any of the issues that have been raised, they're all interesting.

Blacknad.

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#20984 - 04/27/07 10:05 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Blacknad
What is off limits for science is a massive current debate. Dawkins certainly thinks that God is not off limits and that science clearly indicates that God is a fairy tale.

Other's such as John Polkinghorne also say that God is not off limits for science and point to fine tuning etc. and make the inference that God does exist.

Having read people from both sides of the argument, my own personal opinion is that the universe leads only to agnosticism and that anyone who finds anything else has not been doing 'value-free science' - they have brought their prior assumptions to the lab.

I hope the thread doesn't stick here though.

I am interested also in

1. The belief that scientific progress will be a panacea for all human ills.

What can we reasonably expect from science?

2. Science is the only way to understand the human animal and that an evolutionary understanding of ourselves is the best way forward.

We can take it as a foregone conclusion that evolutionary theory is correct. What I am really asking is, is it entirely helpful to see all human behaviour throught he prism of evolutionary drives? Are there aspects of behaviour that have arisen without a driver simply through the complexity of our brains (emergent properties) and through our modern environment.

I obviously know that any idea of a spiritual aspect to our behaviour is clearly off limits here.

I hope I am not hijacking this thread and will happily explore further any of the issues that have been raised, they're all interesting.

Blacknad.



What can we reasonably expect from science?

From science we expect Understanding of things (and problems) in the material, physical world.

What we do with that understanding; how it is applied, is a decidely unscientific process.

Though I suppose if you examine the sociology and psychology of decisions, they can all be explained scientifically (which is an answer to Question 2, I guess).

Well, maybe not.

RE: Q2:
Not all existing traits are a result of selection, many arise and persist randomly (but may be selected for/against if the pressures change in the future). So doesn't this mean that there could be behaviours not explained by our past evolution.

I'd also like to point out that there is a pretty big value judgement in concluding what has and hasn't been selected for during evolution. How can we be aware of all the pressures, or what traits actually mean for long term survival? How can we say what is best for the survival of any species or of all life. What's best for one species, may not be best for the whole web.
It'd sure be easy to argue that vaccines have greatly reduced our genetic robustness, but I wouldn't want to argue against vaccines with that as my "moral" viewpoint.

Hope this makes sense; it's past time for sleep....

~~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20985 - 04/27/07 01:11 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"The problem with these is that they are only unifying in as much as people decide to buy in to them."

...if even that far...however, I think the same could be said of any religion or philosophy.

The purpose of science isn't to give us narratives. The purpose of science is not to unify us. It has the potential to 'help' with those things, but that is not its purpose.

More importantly, science doesn't determine our purpose and it doesn't give us values. It can help us understand our values and the potential consequences of acting on them, though.

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#20987 - 04/27/07 06:28 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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Hey TFF,
Looks as if great minds think alike.

We both answered blacknad by talking about what we do with our knowledge ("buy in") and ended by talking about values.

~SA smile
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#21001 - 04/27/07 07:51 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Are logic and science the only things that are important?

In my opinion, no.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txchaIqrrV8

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#21002 - 04/27/07 07:52 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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You did say that and you also brought in a another interesting and important idea; namely, "knowing what's best."

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#21003 - 04/27/07 08:03 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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I was struck by Mike's comment (I hope that's right), "But there is only one way which is the best way, in terms of efficaciousness towards the human being and our future."

I know what you mean, but I can't help but think probably no two people could completely agree on what is most efficacious (for instance, on what time scale?).

Should we manage humanity to ameliorate problems, or should we celebrate the diversity/robustness that hardship engenders?

~~SA

_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21013 - 04/27/07 10:20 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Blacknad wrote:

"I hope I am not hijacking this thread".

Hey. It's your thread. Fill your boots.

I suspect the answer to your question 1 above (will scientific progress will be a panacea for all human ills) is "no". But it might turn out eventually to be yes.

Regarding question 2, Science is the only way to understand the human animal and that an evolutionary understanding of ourselves is the best way forward. I believe there are still many misunderstandings as to how evolution works. Many of our ideas still carry baggage from Victorian economic ideas. It's not simply "survival of the fittest". Evolution works on whole populations. It is very seldom, if ever, the product of the expansion of some small, inbred group. But try explaining that to anyone who's philosophy is based on the Judeo-Christian beliefs.

Earlier you commented:

"The problem with these is that they are only unifying in as much as people decide to buy in to them. My current understanding of humanity tells me that this is entirely unlikely".

That may be true and I agree with The FallibleFiend and Samwik's comments regarding difficulties of people buying into a single philosophy. You added:

"The other problem is that they are global drives and seem to offer little to the individual, who is unlikely to be the beneficiary of any of them. I suspect that none of them are powerful enough to unify and will not stop us raping each other."

I think if we continually educate people to understand how their beliefs are being used to gain support for enterprises unlikely to actually benefit them individually we will eventually get somewhere.

P.S. Fallible. Liked the video. It ran smoother on our system than your one on Darwin for some reason.


Edited by terrytnewzealand (04/27/07 10:29 PM)

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#21046 - 04/28/07 06:13 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Terry writes:
Quote:
I suspect the answer to your question 1. above (will scientific progress will be a panacea for all human ills?) is "no". But it might turn out eventually to be yes.
In my opinion, science is about finding answers to questions beginning with what, when, where, who and how. It is about things that have mass, volume and which occupy space and time, and move within them.

THE WHY QUESTIONS REQUIRE SOMETIME MORE
The task of finding answers to teleological questions--that is, ones having to do with the whys of life, including moral values, meaning and purpose--may be made easier if those who ask such question have a scientific attitude, but the whys of life require more than just science.
_________________________
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#21052 - 04/29/07 01:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Mike Kremer Offline

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Originally Posted By: samwik
I was struck by Mike's comment (I hope that's right), "But there is only one way which is the best way, in terms of efficaciousness towards the human being and our future."
...........................>
Should we manage humanity to ameliorate problems, or should we celebrate the diversity/robustness that hardship engenders?

~~SA


I might qualify some of the above by saying that most average individuals plot a random course thru life.
But that 'humans-beings', collectively, are on a course to the future, that is anything but random.

I believe this because the individual is expendable in the scheme of thing. I am sure that thousands of years of Evolution
has instilled within the individual an amazing will to live, and expand. However the odds are stacked.

Humans when threatened with torture, death or worse, will recant and change their outlook to agree with their tyrants views, as a last resort.
I dont think this is a sign of weakness. Since all logical thinking shuts down, becomes obsolete, its an evolutionary protective mechanism,
beyond our control.

Look at the poor wretches in the Middle Ages, who had absolutely nothing but religion for solace.
Their mind knew even while being tortured, that changing their religious beliefs would not save them, they would still be burnt at the stake. Which is why so many continued to mumble their prayers, gladly suffering the most appalling pain, until their death, in the hope that a miracle might save them.

Again I belive that was a result of the human minds protectioning mechanism, coming into play.

What I am trying to say is that, some of us collectively are going to be in the right place at the right time, and move ahead
While others, who are collectively in the wrong place at the wrong time will band together in an effort to overthrow those they consider a threat. All groupings, that might be best called the 'randomising of human movements'. Life death, wars and peace,and suffering, all come into playing out of life, probably always will.

Yet collectively the world of Human Beings is secure and mapped out for the forseable future, Our genes plus evolution will see to that.
Even tho' we cannot see the future.
Of course science will be used to help some groups along the way. But science cannot help every one, in the same way that untold wealth divided equally to all, can never help the human world.
The World needs problems, to ensure our future. Not all of our human family will ever be part of this future



_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#21056 - 04/29/07 06:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
samwik Offline
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"Yet collectively the world of Human Beings is secure and mapped out for the forseable future, Our genes plus evolution will see to that." -Mike K.

So, I take it you come down on the side of "celebrate the diversity/robustness that hardship engenders."

....the mind boggles!

(sorry, thinking of GW implications)

The country with the most polar coastline could exploit an active control over that pole to dramatic effect, if they were very motivated.

I'm sure between our efforts to maintain the status quo and the "randomizing," some will muddle thru, somewhere. Hopefully our efforts to maximize the numbers will work.

That's a neat concept: randomizing; it's kinda like
Social Entropy. -- smile

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21061 - 04/29/07 08:48 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
Blacknad Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer
I believe this because the individual is expendable in the scheme of thing.


This is what I am talking about and this is why an effective narrative to explain who we are is imperative.

At the core of religion is the concept that all human life is sacred, even if it does not always come out in practice. Each life has value.

Science, however, tells us that we are:

One insignificant bag of genes crawling on the surface of an insignificant ball of dirt traveling through an insignificant part of an insignificant universe.

And that bag of genes is driven to survive and that pretty much everything it does is a result of genetic drives that it does not even perceive, but mistakenly labels as love, indignation, righteous anger, compassion etc.

As Dan has said:

"We are nothing more than calculating machines."


...And we are expendable.

Can we really not see what justified horrors of social engineering we open up with all those expendable people - for the greater good?

Can we really not see what this does to the psyche?

Do we not realize why we have an ever growing army of children with behavioral issues and depression, causing us to use Ritalin and other drugs to sedate a generation?

Do we not see why we have teens now, who despairing in their existential angst, take up arms and slaughter their classmates in a desperate attempt to gain some significance (with press releases readily prepared).

If religion is wrong and science is right, then how do we respond to this?

You say, and maybe rightly so, that it is not science's place to provide any meaning to life - but I suppose I feel that as the practice of science has stripped all meaning, those engaged in it have some responsibility to realize what they have done and try to address it.

I know I'm being really dense here, but I can't help the way I feel - it is beyond my control - I have an evolutionary drive to feel significant so that I can play my part in the group and therefore maximize survival potential smile

Blacknad.

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#21062 - 04/29/07 09:10 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Revlgking wrote:

"It is about things that have mass, volume and which occupy space and time, and move within them."

In this case I'm thinking of sciences that tell us about human behaviour; such as psychology, sociology etc. and even anthropology. These sciences are already used to help manipulate populations to some extent, usually to sell such things as toothpaste. Or political parties. They will eventually tell us a great deal about how human societies work. It will be over to "The People" to tell politicians how we should use the results of those sciences.

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#21068 - 04/29/07 12:10 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
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Terry: "It will be over to "The People" to tell politicians how we should use the results of those sciences."

- Yes, I think you're right - if they have the good fortune to live in a benign and democratic state...
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#21069 - 04/29/07 01:39 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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It looks like, as we dialogue, we are experiencing a lot of consensus here. As you put it, Terry: "I'm thinking of sciences that tell us about human behaviour; such as psychology, sociology etc. and even anthropology." These are often referred to as "soft sciences".

RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY--father and mother of the sciences
The parents of all the sciences was, of course, religion and philosophy.

Interestingly, the great psychiatrist, Carl Jung came to respect the nature and value of a philosophical (rational) approach to religion. He broke, in a civilized sort of way, with his mentor, Sigmund Freud over Freud's atheism and his cynical view of religion (Check his small book, Future of an Illusion).

Back in the early 1960's, while taking a year of Jungian studies, I remember reading Carl Jung http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/jung.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Jung
http://www.cgjungpage.org/
In his writings Jung called for the development of a "science of the spirit". At the time, knowing a little Greek, I made up the word "pneumatology" to use in my lectures and sermons on faith and healing. Not long after that I obtained an excellent dictionary published by World Book.

My two-volume WB dictionary has the word "pneumatology"--study of the spirit and an archaic word for psychology. Basically, it is the science of the human spirit, "we the people".
_________________________
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#21085 - 04/30/07 05:41 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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"RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY--father and mother of the sciences" -Revl

I'm not sure how I feel about that one. I could argue for and against.

I was struck by a comment, I think it's from Christopher Hitchens, who sees religion as the enemy of culture (I think).

He was talking about how obvious it is that our culture evolved from the chimpanzees. Then he went on to say it was equally true that our religions also obviously evolved from the chimapanzees.

~not that there's anything wrong with that!
Anyway, he's a pretty arrogant guy; but funny!

So, what does pneumatology say about the different ways of knowing? Can we hold contradictory schema of the world, and not damage ourselves?

Is Science the answer, or is science an answer?

~~Samwik

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#21096 - 04/30/07 09:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Revlgking wrote:

'These are often referred to as "soft sciences"'.

They will gain more respect as they use scientific methods of measrement and experiment more and more.

Redewenur wrote:

"if they have the good fortune to live in a benign and democratic state..."

As a skit in Monty Python said, "This is where my claim falls to the ground". Are there any such things as benign and democratic states? I believe we should definitely be supporting any that do exist.

Samwik. I'm not familiar with Chris Hitchins. I'll have to look him up.

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#21111 - 04/30/07 10:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Samwik asks:
Quote:
So, what does pneumatology say about the different ways of knowing?
Thanks for your question, Samnwik.IMHO, as a science, pneumatology, like all sciences, does not say anything. It is simply a tool which explores things. People, as scientists, are what say things.

For example, I first heard about pneumatology in 1965. After many decades studying the subject, I now consider myself to be a beginner pneumatologist.

This means that I am a curious human spirit who is ready and willing to admit that there are many things about which I am ignorant. Therefore, I am also ready and willing to ask numerous questions, and to do experiments, having to do with how the human spirit works.

Like with all the sciences, the answers I get will be determined by how brutally honest I am ready and willing to be.

Samwik, you ask: "Can we hold contradictory schema of the world, and not damage ourselves?"

Please expand on what you mean by your qquestion.

You ask: "Is Science the answer, or is science an answer?"

I agree with those who say that science is simply a tool which we are free to use in our search for answers.
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#21123 - 05/01/07 04:14 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Pneumatology holds the same relation to science as astrology and theology. Its practitioners may call themselves scientists, but garbage men can call themselves sanitation "engineers." Until I see them studying PDEs and material's science, they're just playing word games.

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#21125 - 05/01/07 04:37 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Ellis Offline
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Blacknad wrote:
Do we not realize why we have an ever growing army of children with behavioral issues and depression, causing us to use Ritalin and other drugs to sedate a generation?

Do we not see why we have teens now, who despairing in their existential angst, take up arms and slaughter their classmates in a desperate attempt to gain some significance (with press releases readily prepared).

Whilst these are undoubtedly true incidents now, I have always been extremely uneasy with the "things are SO hard for young people today" school of thought. Things weren't so ginger peachy for Anne Frank and others of her generation. They didn't sit around whining and slaughtering their friends, instead they tried hard to survive. Maybe that is what is wrong, it's just too easy when the consequence of sulking and violence is a denial of resonsibility. Then there's the gun control problem too.

Back on topic-ish. How could anyone suggest that religion and philosophy are sciences? It makes as much sense as arguing for the scientific proof of the existence of the divine, and as big a waste of time.

Pneumatology sounds like the study of car tyres. Did you make it up?

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#21127 - 05/01/07 05:43 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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TFF: Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done; some are not. Some fear new ideas; some do not. Some of us are curious; some are not. Some encourage the exploration of new ideas; some do not. Some are obscurants; some are not.

That is what makes exploring the nature and function of the human spirit (the pneuma) facinating for me.

BTW, my curiosity led me to do a google on "the new psychologies". Here is the first thing that came up:

http://www.socionics.com/main/welcome.html

But is it really all that new?
In 1884 John Dewey wrote about THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY:
http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Dewey/newpsych.htm
*****
He began his essay by acknowledging the work of the early psychologists who took a subjective approach to the subject, but he then added:
Quote:
What can be meant, then, by saying that the rise of this physiological psychology has produced a revolution in psychology? This: that it has given a new instrument, introduced a new method,-- that of experiment, which has supplemented and corrected the old method of introspection.

=====

Here is the concluding part of the essay:

Quote:
...From this general characteristic result most of its features. It has already been noticed that it insists upon the unity and solidarity of psychical life against abstract theories which would break it up into atomic elements or independent powers.

It lays large stress upon the will; not as an abstract power of unmotivated choice, nor as an executive power to obey the behests of the understanding, the legislative branch of the psychical government, but as a living bond connecting and conditioning all mental activity. It emphasizes the teleological element, not in any mechanical or external sense, but regarding life as an organism in which immanent ideas or purposes are realizing themselves through the development of experience. Thus modern psychology is intensely ethical in its tendencies. As it refuses to hypostatize abstractions into self-subsistent individuals, and as it insists upon the automatic spontaneous elements in man's life, it is making possible for the first time an adequate psychology of man's religious nature and experience.

As it goes into the depths of man's nature it finds, as stone of its foundation, blood of its life, the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles of the nations upon the altar stairs which slope up to God.

It finds no insuperable problems in the relations of faith and reason, for it can discover in its investigations no reason which is not based upon faith, and no faith which is not rational in its origin and tendency. But to attempt to give any detailed account of these features of the New Psychology would be to go over much of the recent discussions of ethics and theology. We can conclude only by saying that, following the logic of life, it attempts to comprehend life.
_________________________
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#21132 - 05/01/07 07:47 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
TFF: Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done; some are not. Some fear new ideas; some do not. Some of us are curious; some are not. Some encourage the exploration of new ideas; some do not. Some are obscurants; some are not.

That is what makes exploring the nature and function of the human spirit (the pneuma) facinating for me.

BTW, my curiosity led me to do a google on "the new psychologies". Here is the first thing that came up:

http://www.socionics.com/main/welcome.html

But is it really all that new?
In 1884 John Dewey wrote about THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY:
http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Dewey/newpsych.htm
*****
He began his essay by acknowledging the work of the early psychologists who took a subjective approach to the subject, but he then added:
Quote:
What can be meant, then, by saying that the rise of this physiological psychology has produced a revolution in psychology? This: that it has given a new instrument, introduced a new method,-- that of experiment, which has supplemented and corrected the old method of introspection.

=====

Here is the concluding part of the essay:

Quote:
...From this general characteristic result most of its features. It has already been noticed that it insists upon the unity and solidarity of psychical life against abstract theories which would break it up into atomic elements or independent powers.

It lays large stress upon the will; not as an abstract power of unmotivated choice, nor as an executive power to obey the behests of the understanding, the legislative branch of the psychical government, but as a living bond connecting and conditioning all mental activity. It emphasizes the teleological element, not in any mechanical or external sense, but regarding life as an organism in which immanent ideas or purposes are realizing themselves through the development of experience. Thus modern psychology is intensely ethical in its tendencies. As it refuses to hypostatize abstractions into self-subsistent individuals, and as it insists upon the automatic spontaneous elements in man's life, it is making possible for the first time an adequate psychology of man's religious nature and experience.

As it goes into the depths of man's nature it finds, as stone of its foundation, blood of its life, the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles of the nations upon the altar stairs which slope up to God.

It finds no insuperable problems in the relations of faith and reason, for it can discover in its investigations no reason which is not based upon faith, and no faith which is not rational in its origin and tendency. But to attempt to give any detailed account of these features of the New Psychology would be to go over much of the recent discussions of ethics and theology. We can conclude only by saying that, following the logic of life, it attempts to comprehend life.


"...the instinctive tendencies of devotion, sacrifice, faith, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey

Sounds like they were trying to reconcile religion & psychology.

I quoted the above because if you get rid of the religious words (devotion, sacrifice, faith), and substitute:

"a drive to seek ultimate significance," I think there'd be a statement with which we could all agree.

Thus:

"...the instinctive tendencies of a drive to seek ultimate significance, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey (coined)

Anyway, I ran across that phrase lisening to a panel discussion on religion and culture (BookTV).

As a "human" genetic trait, I thought it might explain alot:

...a drive to seek ultimate significance.

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21134 - 05/01/07 11:59 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: samwik


...Sounds like they (thinkers like William James, John Dewey, etc.) were trying to reconcile religion & psychology.

I quoted the above because if you get rid of the religious words (devotion, sacrifice, faith), and substitute:

"a drive to seek ultimate significance," I think there'd be a statement with which we could all agree.

Thus:

"...the instinctive tendencies of a drive to seek ultimate significance, and idealism which are the eternal substructure of all the struggles...." -John Dewey (coined)

Anyway, I ran across that phrase lisening to a panel discussion on religion and culture (BookTV).

As a "human" genetic trait, I thought it might explain alot:

...a drive to seek ultimate significance.

~SA
Bang on, SA. Interestingly, over the decades, Dewey, went back and forth, theologically. More than once he was accused to being an atheist, a left-wing socialist, even a communist, among other things. Perhaps he was, now and then smile.

Socrates, Aristotle and even Jesus received the same kind of accusations by those who used a different kind of semantics.
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#21135 - 05/01/07 02:25 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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rev: "Some people are interested in the exploring new ideas and new ways of getting things done"

People can explore all they wish, but not every "search" is an application of science.

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#21137 - 05/01/07 03:00 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: TheFallibleFiend
...People can explore all they wish, but not every "search" is an application of science.
In the spirit of dialogue, I am interested in having an example or two of subjects which you feel are not open to research and of no interest to serious scientists.

One example that comes to my mind is the idea, taught by the traditional religions and one that is accepted by millions of people, is this: God is a person who, among other things, hears and answers, yes, to our petitions, our prayers.

I have no problem with people who say, "we believe such and such to be true". But surely, they should be challenged to demonstrate how factually true, in the scientific sense of the word, it really is.

It seems to that there is some value in using science to demonstrate that such and such is irrational nonsense. Even the traditional religions speak of certain religious practices as superstition--irrational religion. "The religion of feeble minds" as Edmund Burke called it.


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#21138 - 05/01/07 03:10 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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" In the spirit of dialogue, I am interested in having an example or two of subjects which you feel are not open to research and of no interest to serious scientists. "

You're misunderstanding my point. I didn't say there were subjects that were not open to research and were no interest to scientists. I said that not every type of inquiry is a scientific inquiry.

Not every opinion a scientist has is a scientific and professional opinion. Not every inquiry he makes is a scientific inquiry.

You're hung up on the idea that science grew up as part of philosophy, but you seem utterly oblivious to the fact that it has broken off - and is now its own thing.

Why do you think that occurred?

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#21139 - 05/01/07 03:11 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"But surely, they should be challenged to demonstrate how factually true, in the scientific sense of the word, it really is."

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#21140 - 05/01/07 03:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Revlgking Offline
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TFF writes "... you seem utterly oblivious to the fact that it has broken off - and is now its own thing."

In what way is science on its own? Illustrate.
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#21143 - 05/01/07 07:25 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Science - by which I mean actual science, and not just any random thought that comes into a person's head - is an area of inquiry in its own right. It has a method, it has philosophy. It has a realm of application.

Science does not *do* god. It does not *do* supernatural. Any attempt to apply science to problems of religion is using a screwdriver to hammer a nail. It's the wrong tool.

In particular, scientists try to explain the basic scientific entities and its fundamental axioms in the clearest, least ambiguous terms possible. And when they apply their reasoning, they try to be very careful when they are talking about logical necessity and when they are talking about reasonable conclusions and when they are just stating their personal opinions. They don't conflate 20 different ideas and say, "there, i've proved it. next topic." A perfect example is when you were talking about God being everything and I asked does that include feces and you came back with the metaphor of the donut. Look, science doesn't give a rat's rear whether something is desirable. We're trying to figure out the IS, not the OUGHT or the I-wished -it-WERE.

This is not to say that philosophy and science cannot work together, but only that they are distinct. Conflating philosophy
and science is bad science. Using science to lend credibility to purely philosophical points is bad science.

The subject of God is one example. Another is that there is no scientific reason whatever to believe that "a supernatural spirit" exists. None. And even if it did exist, it's not something science can address. The very instant a person brings that subject into the conversation, we know that they are misapplying science.

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#21144 - 05/01/07 09:57 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Author

Now I have to agree with TFF on the main point, "It [science] has a realm of application." -TFF
"And even if it [supernatural] did exist, it's not something science can address." -TFF

Two different realms that do not relate well to each other; do not speak the same language.

My point is that we ought to be able to use both operating systems (both realms) at our own discretion. It's like using Quantum Mechanics or Relativity to understand the universe. The fact that they differ by 120 orders of magnitude doesn't mean we still don't find them useful (at our discretion).

Now using them at the same time is an HNL (whole 'nother level). smile

I think that often people assume one precludes the other. That's why so many people won't admit to believing in evolution (they think it means they're admitting to not believing in God), and they don't want to do that in public (on the record).

It might be better to ask people if they 'understand' evolution, rather than if they 'believe' in evolution.

~~SA

p.s. ...and speaking of 'understanding' evolution, Thanks TFF!
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21146 - 05/01/07 10:15 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"I think that often people assume one precludes the other."
I agree.

"It might be better to ask people if they 'understand' evolution, rather than if they 'believe' in evolution."

I *would* agree with this except that most creationists are absolutely convinced that they understand evolution.

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#21148 - 05/01/07 10:26 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
samwik Offline
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Hey, I said people, not creationists. smile

ooops, guess I should'a said "most people," but I was thinking as if in a poll of people.

Good point though, about "convinced that they understand evolution."

I debated about using that word, 'understand.' I thought about saying 'understand the basics,' or 'somewhat understand,' and opted for brevity; but if I were composing a poll question....

wink
~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21154 - 05/02/07 01:18 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Ellis Offline
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The ability to hold onto 2 ideas at once is something that humans who live in a community (ie 99%) of us) deal with each day. An example of this is that I think that I believe that absolute freedom is good, however should I decide to exercise it as my right I would be causing chaos. Also in the realm of ideas, I believe it is possible to live a moral life, not upsetting too many, and actively helping and improving the lives of others without needing to believe in a god. Others feel that only the possibility of a god checking behaviour and promising eternal life keeps people "good". I entertain both these ideas, and choose the one that appeals the most. But I do not insist that others who reach a different conclusion adopt my views. And I can see many advantages for both sides.

I have heard many people talk about evolution without the angst referred to here. They still believe believe in god and see him the Evolutionist over all of measurable time. Thinking through 2 opposing views is the human thing to do. Then consensus and cooperation can achieve a balanced result. It's cannot always be either /or.

Such certainties that do exist, confirmed after years of research make for happy scientists, and possibly Nobel Prizes. For the rest of us, we just have to keep trying to unravel the knot, as best we can.

PS-
Nobody has explained the etymology of pneumology and it's not posted anywhere as far as I can see.

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#21155 - 05/02/07 01:29 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
Blacknad Offline
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The brain seems to have a peculiar ability to hold two opposing, even contradictory ideas at once. It is called 'Cognitive Dissonance'. It find it interesting that the brain can do this with no real tension. It is probably necessary.

Blacknad.

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#21164 - 05/02/07 04:05 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Revlgking Offline
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Ellis comments:
Quote:
PS-
Nobody has explained the etymology of pneumology and it's not posted anywhere as far as I can see.
The word is 'pneumatology'. I will bring up the thread, for you, which I started on it.
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#21168 - 05/02/07 04:30 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Rev wrote;
The word is 'pneumatology'. I will bring up the thread, for you, which I started on it.

I don't want to know everything about pneumatology, just its dictionary-type definition.

Blacknad- Is there any evidence that animals other than humans can make choices based on reasoning? Or is Cognitive Dissonance a purely human trait? It seems to me to be a very basic human specific characteristic, as without this ability wouldn't reasoning be impossible?

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#21179 - 05/02/07 08:12 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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TheFallibleFiend wrote:

"I *would* agree with this except that most creationists are absolutely convinced that they understand evolution."

And many people who accept humans have evolved from an ape-like creature don't understand how it happened.

Ellis wrote:

"Is there any evidence that animals other than humans can make choices based on reasoning?"

It so happens I read in today's newspaper that crows do it. I'll have a look for a link, perhaps tomorrow.

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#21186 - 05/02/07 08:53 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
samwik Offline
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Ellis wrote:

"Is there any evidence that animals other than humans can make choices based on reasoning?"

~There is this from the links on SAGG: monkey metacognition....

"The results demonstrated that there was a strong correlation between high-risk bets and correct responses, and between low-risk bets and incorrect responses. "The pattern of the monkeys' bets provided clear evidence of their ability to engage in meta-cognition, an ability that is all the more remarkable because monkeys lack language," noted Columbia's Herbert Terrace."

~sa
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21188 - 05/02/07 01:51 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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terry: "And many people who accept humans have evolved from an ape-like creature don't understand how it happened. "

All too true. My own understand of the subject has evolved over time. The purpose of the redux is to make the ideas more accessible to everyone - creationists and evolutionists, as well.

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#21215 - 05/03/07 04:53 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
Ellis Offline
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samik wrote:

"The results demonstrated that there was a strong correlation between high-risk bets and correct responses, and between low-risk bets and incorrect responses. "The pattern of the monkeys' bets provided clear evidence of their ability to engage in meta-cognition, an ability that is all the more remarkable because monkeys lack language," noted Columbia's Herbert Terrace."


Humans who are unable to communicate by using language can make decisions. They are unable to communicate in a meaningful way with others but are able to make considered choices. I find this research challenging as it implies that the monkeys' lack of language would be evidence of their lack of reasoning.

There are conditions that humans suffer fron that preclude them from ever aquiring language, and indeed they often do not wish to interact and commumicate, however they can reason, not always as you or I would, but it is reasoning. An example would be some people with autism, a condition that now everyone has heard of and is now (I feel) a fashionable diagnosis. Some people with severe autism have little desire to communicate and aquire little or no language of any sort, but still make decisions which show evidence of choice.

It is indeed remarkable that the results show that the monkeys were capable of making an informed choice with regard to placing their bets, and answers my question about the ability to make choices being uniquely human. It isn't!

Now all I need is the etymology of pneumatology.

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#21220 - 05/03/07 08:15 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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And Ellis. As promised here is the good oil on crows:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1209_041209_crows_apes.html

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#21235 - 05/03/07 10:51 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Ellis Offline
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Thanks terry. It seems that not only humans can think. What do you think about the assumption that the aquisition of language is necessary to achieve what is described as meta-cognition? I don't think it is, or actually I think that as quoted it is a flawed definition.

There is a great story about crows from an Asian city (can't remember details and have no facts to back this up!). The crows enjoyed the kernel of a hard shelled nut but they had difficulty cracking the shell. So they were dropping the nuts on a busy intersection in the city and watching as the traffic cracked the shells open, then flying quickly down to pick them up. They then had the sense to take them to the side of the road to eat them, (maybe some sad lessons learned there!). I remember seeing some great footage on TV of the whole thing.

We have come a long way in our knowledge of behaviour since I was taught that humaans were the ony tool-using animals.

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#21236 - 05/03/07 11:09 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Mitthrawnuruodo Offline
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"Science, through its objectivity, has the potential to unify humanity. Ignorance has the potential to destroy it".

Blacknad, Ignorance of what..science? Are you asking if science alone can unify humanity or that humanity can unite without..or in a combination of science and religion..or not religion? I suppose science on its own has no morality; rather the people behind the science have moral responsibility. Of course, I am sure, many scientists will tell me they have no moral duty; they just report the process and the facts.
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#21246 - 05/04/07 05:11 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mitthrawnuruodo]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Ellis asked whether "the aquisition of language is necessary to achieve what is described as meta-cognition?". I've never been sure of any definition of what meta-cognition means. The word was used often enough when I did my teacher training. I suspect we often think in language because we can. A lack of language might not alter our subsequent actions though.

I seem to remember those crows now you come to mention it.

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#21262 - 05/05/07 01:40 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Ellis Offline
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Ah! teacher training. They taught me then that cognition was about the aquisition of knowledge through sensory perception, and therefore of itself 'cognition' would describe the use of all the available senses appropriate for the task in hand. I think Meta-cognition is a posh way of saying "lots of sensory input"--sounds brilliant, but I'm really not sure it means much, and I still question whether language, as such, is necessary for reasoned choice to take place. Language must always include communication, but communication does not need language to suceed in conveying its message. Then there are the people who do not communicate in any way and have no language ..but they can still make choices. The aquisition of language and its use in communication are things that we take for granted and we really shouldn't.

PS I am using the term language as I think the reseacher does ie written or spoken words.

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#21266 - 05/05/07 02:06 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Ellis. For what it's worth, I agree with all that. Language is usefull though.

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#21269 - 05/05/07 03:25 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Playwright, George Bernard Shaw said: "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

I agree. IMO, this ability to acknowledge our unique selfhood is what makes us human, spiritual or pneumatological beings.

As a spiritual (pneuma) being I not just the product of my heredity and my environment--my nature and nurture; I am also the result of what I call pneumature. I am personally responsible for the kind of self I am now, and for the kind of self I will have tomorrow.
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#21272 - 05/05/07 07:00 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ellis
The aquisition of language and its use in communication are things that we take for granted and we really shouldn't.


I think languange causes lots of problems, because of 'misunderstandings.' It's surprising how often two people think they're talking about the same thing, and yet...not (and usually, nobody ever knows).

Hey, re: "I think Meta-cognition is a posh way of saying "lots of sensory input..."

I see the term as "thinking about thinking." Could also be 'thinking about knowlege, or thinking about learning.'

I think that's why the monkeys "betting" was a good example. It requires holding many possibilities or outcomes in mind at once, and then judging risks/rewards, odds, etc.; meta-cognition.

As for language, it's useful (as ttnz says); but it sure is quicker to think in pictures.
"One picture is worth a thousand words"-?

thus the qualification re: "...the reseacher does, ie written or spoken words."-Ellis

~SLater

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Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21297 - 05/06/07 01:34 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Ellis Offline
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But doesn't thinking occur beacuse of sensory input? Or do you see thinking as sensory nput of itself? In the case of the monkeys. I agree they are a good example, they are indeed holding many ideas/inputs/outcomes at once but I am hsppy to call that thinking and/or reasoning. I do not thik we need the word 'meta-cognition'. It is a very good example of jargon, and unnessary because there are perfectly good words to describe what we assume is meant by it.

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#21383 - 05/08/07 09:30 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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IMHO, language is one of the tools we language-using human beings use to create ourselves, agreed? No wonder that the Gospel of John begins with the words: "In the beginning was the word..."
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#21395 - 05/09/07 07:26 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Hiya Revl~
Well, I still stand by what I said above (including about metacognition), but I do agree that we wouldn't be what we are without language; especially it's contributions to our civilizing and socializing processes. You can't communicate using just thoughts, so language is critical. Language facilitates metacognition, like math (statistics) facilitates meta-analyses.
You can read the Bible, and be cognizant of what it says; but to think about what it means (literally, metaphorically, symbolically, etc., is a HNL (whole 'nother level) -metacognition.
I always took, "In the beginning was the word..." to mean that when words came about, it marked the beginning of civilizing and humanizing processes, and recognition of other potentialities (like religion, laws, and science). Words marked the beginning of being human, sapient.

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21398 - 05/09/07 08:09 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: samwik
Hiya Revl~
Well, I still stand by what I said above (including about metacognition), but I do agree that we wouldn't be what we are without language; especially it's contributions to our civilizing and socializing processes. You can't communicate using just thoughts, so language is critical. Language facilitates metacognition, like math (statistics) facilitates meta-analyses.
You can read the Bible, and be cognizant of what it says; but to think about what it means (literally, metaphorically, symbolically, etc., is a HNL (whole 'nother level) -metacognition.
I always took, "In the beginning was the word..." to mean that when words came about, it marked the beginning of civilizing and humanizing processes, and recognition of other potentialities (like religion, laws, and science). Words marked the beginning of being human, sapient.

~SA

...just fyi; and now for something only slightly different.


"I think languange causes lots of problems, because of 'misunderstandings.' It's surprising how often two people think they're talking about the same thing, and yet...not (and usually, nobody ever knows). -S.

...and I still stand by that, also.

But Science provides a great benefit by making it easier to know if you're talking about the same thing. It standardizes our thinking and makes it easier to spot misunderstandings. The language of religions does not seem to help in this area.

BOT

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21402 - 05/09/07 05:23 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Revlgking Offline
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John 1, in NT Greek, begins, "'Aen archae 'aen h'o logos..." Obviously, we get our word 'archaic' from the Greek. From 'logos' comes logic. It is also used at the end of all our words ending in 'logy'.

For example, 'geology' means the study, or science, of the 'ge', earth. We also gets words like 'somatology'--study of the human body; psychology--study of the mind (in the over-all animal sense of mind), and pneumatology--study of the human spirit. Study always involves the use of the scientific approach.

How important it is to use words in a positive and loving. Real communication can often make the difference between life and death. Used lovingly, they can bring light and prosperty to a situations filled with despair. Used hatefully, they can, like bad religion, poison everything.

It is no accident that the root meaning of 'community' means a place where we can be munificent and share our gifts with (com) one another.

_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21404 - 05/09/07 06:52 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
This is simply philosophy and religion.

This board is essentially about science. 'Not quite science' does not mean 'No scientific content at all'. Pneumatology is not science - it makes psychology look like hard science.

Rev - you don't seem to realize that when you come here to propagate your philosophy it is seen by some here as rude. People come here, in the main, to discuss and learn about science - not to be preached to. You bring religion into disrepute by inappropriately evangelizing here.

This criticism may seem strange coming from a Christian, but I do not instigate discussion on religion - I only respond when someone else criticizes religion. This is done out of respect and you should do the same if you remain here, but I know for a fact that you are only here to expose others to your beliefs.

Blacknad.

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#21405 - 05/09/07 09:58 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hello.

Forgive me if I am in the wrong forum. I'm trying to discuss the "vanishing" or "lost" honeybees. I absolutely don't claim to have all the answers, but I'm trying to be a part of a solution. My thoughts may seem "out there" to many, but it's at least something other than "let's fund the researchers and throw away our cell phones." Please visit my website:

www.saveabeeaday.com

Thank you for your time.


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#21406 - 05/09/07 10:47 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: ]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
Hiya KS,
There is a Topic on Vanishing Honeybees on the General Science forum. You should read it through (only a couple of pages); it doesn't sound as if cell phones are related in any way (don't know if that's good or bad news!).

Please feel welcome to look over some of the topics on the Climate Change forum also (just for interest -nothing about bees, yet!).

~samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21409 - 05/09/07 11:33 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
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"'Aen archae 'aen h'o logos..."
I like the 'logos' even better than 'word,' in terms of what I said above, about that phrase.

Anyway, I do understand how the language of religion provides lots of comfort, joy, "light and prosperity" to those who know the language.

My point in saying religion doesn't help communication (like science does) was in terms of communication between religions; between large groups or cultures even.

Science does have its problems (as when they input English measurements into a program designed for Metric - and loose a Mars probe).

Seen from the outside religions all seem to be saying the same thing, but each religion also seems to define other religions out of the picture. It's like many foreign languages; they may say the same thing, but usually everyone acts as if languages other than their own are just nonsense (or worse, anathematic).

On Topic,
I feel one of the main hinderances to Science being [more of] the Answer, is a similar problem.

Scientists talking to the general public is almost like two different religions trying to talk to one another.

A lifelong interest of mine (since college) was the problem of the chasm between sciences and humanities (in education); and bridging that chasm. In recent years, interest in the problems with the public's perception of science has evolved from that initial interest.

Language is a big part of that problem. Lately I've been toying with the idea of visiting churchs as a "guest lecturer," mainly to talk about climate change and stewardship (the new buzzword).
This thread has helped me see that I'd need to talk about science in general also (and evolution too; yikes!). smile

Thanks,
~~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21411 - 05/10/07 01:23 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Blacknad writes
Quote:
This criticism may seem strange coming from a Christian, but I do not instigate discussion on religion - I only respond when someone else criticizes religion.

This is done out of respect and you should do the same if you remain here, but I know for a fact that you are only here to expose others to your beliefs.

What do you prefer? Would you prefer I spend my time telling people what I do NOT believe?

BTW, where is your "fact" about my intentions?

You say that "Pneumatology is not science".

What is your science (evidence) for making such a statement? My dictionary says that it IS an archaic term for psychology. If you are a Christian, I presume you believe that there is such a thing as spirit. Is it beyond the pale of study (science)?
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21412 - 05/10/07 01:58 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: Blacknad
....Rev - you don't seem to realize that when you come here to propagate your philosophy it is seen by some (HOW MANY? LET US DO A SURVEY AND FIND OUT THE FACTS.) here as rude.

People come here, in the main, to discuss and learn about science - not to be preached to. You bring religion into disrepute by inappropriately evangelizing here....Blacknad.
Can you demonstrate, with fact, your accusation--which I feel is rude--is based on any proveable and scientific fact? smile

Now, tell us about this "Christianity" of yours, I am very interested. But first, read Matt. 7: "Judge not..." And I Corinthians 13--Paul's great poem on the meaning of agape/love.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#21417 - 05/10/07 06:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

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Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 962
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People come here expecting Science. Not religion, nor any discussions of god, however you wish to spell it. Psychology by any other name would stink as much. Please refer to the introductory paragraph in the sign-on screen.

Amaranth
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#21424 - 05/10/07 09:00 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Blacknad writes
Quote:
but I know for a fact that you are only here to expose others to your beliefs.


BTW, where is your "fact" about my intentions?


Rev,

Please see the thread I am starting here:

http://www.scienceagogo.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21425&page=1#Post21425

Or you could ask yourself the following questions:

How many science articles or sites have you linked to since you have been here?

How many times have you linked to your Pathways Church site and many other related sites all propagating your religion?

I really need to go no further, but I will - see my thread.

Rev - please don't think I am angry at you. I just think that what you are doing is inappropriate and shows a lack of understanding of the terms (and focus) of this site. If you do understand the terms then you are showing disrespect to the owners and users here.

Blacknad.

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#21426 - 05/10/07 10:15 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
Superstar

Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Now, tell us about this "Christianity" of yours, I am very interested. But first, read Matt. 7: "Judge not..." And I Corinthians 13--Paul's great poem on the meaning of agape/love.


I have spoken about my Christianity in response to general criticisms here – but only in defence when people are attacking it. I am not shy of attacking the church myself. I think it is acceptable to respond if people bring up the subject in the first place. It is not acceptable to come here and do nothing but propagate it.

As for me reading the verses – I am familiar with them and do not need to be quoted at. I dislike it when people use Bible verses to try and constrain people’s behaviour – especially when it is used in an attempt to turn attention away from unacceptable behaviour.

I am not judging you – I am simply stating the truth – it should be something you are appreciative of.

http://www.scienceagogo.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=21425&page=1#Post21425

Blacknad.

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#21429 - 05/10/07 12:48 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Rev,
Blacknad is right. You're not talking about science. I have not seen one post of yours yet that was science related.

Words change their meanings. Philosophy and theology and science all used to be different sides of the same subject. No more. Things have broken apart - for a reason. Modern science may include parts of psychology, but it doesn't include Pneumatology. Science does not study spirits. Spirits are beyond science. Science does not mean just "study." It means a particular kind of study on a particular area.

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#21432 - 05/10/07 02:00 PM Re: Is Science the answer?
Mike Kremer Offline

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Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Blacknad
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Now, tell us about this "Christianity" of yours, I am very interested. But first, read Matt. 7: "Judge not..." And I Corinthians 13--Paul's great poem on the meaning of agape/love.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
The aquisition of language and its use in communication are things that we take for granted and we really shouldn't.

[quote]Ellis asked whether "the aquisition of language is necessary to achieve what is described as meta-cognition?".

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
I havespoken about my Christianity in response to general criticisms here – but only in defence when people are attacking it. I am not shy of attacking the church myself. I think it is acceptable to respond if people bring up the subject in the first place. It is not acceptable to come here and do nothing but propagate it.

As for me reading the verses – I am familiar with them and do not need to be quoted at.................>

Blacknad.


Thank goodness for Ellis, he hit the'nail on the head' when he made the two quotes above, about the use of language.

What needs to be made clear is,...which language?

I cannot understand how anybody, and I am refering to Revking here...how can you have a proper logical discussion regarding
whether "Science is the Answer"....by adding quotations from an ancient Biblical language, into a modern English science format?

What is basically a two language mixture is causing language frustration where the final results are always less meaningful, with no clear final outcome, as an answer.

The ancient Hebrews or Babyloneans in using their language could discuss religion, warfare, food production and human living, all with perfection. (There are no swear words in the Bible)
Few, if any, could discuss the 'Sciences', which was probably filed under magic, or similar.

If you want to discuss only the sciences today, one would use German, and excellent technological language, or English, or even modern Hebrew. (In that order)
The Israelis realised long ago, that they could never compete in the modern world unless they updated the Hebrew language. They have been doing this on a daily basis continuously for over 50 years. Pick up a modern Hebrew dictionary, and check out the mathematic, chemical, technical words in it today. You would be surprised. They comprise over 70% of modern Hebrew words now.

Yes I know most of their technical papers are written in English, but even English borrows technical words from the German. Modern Hebrew borrows from both. Look up some of their scientific achievement sites. This is a simple one:-
http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/site/HE/homepage.asp

Which is why I cannot understand how anyone can put over a scientific point by mixing ancient quotes from the Bible with a modern language, in trying to put over a scientific point.
It just dosn't work.
The language from the Bible is perfect for Religious discussion, not for Science





Edited by Mike Kremer (05/10/07 02:46 PM)
_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#21434 - 05/10/07 02:58 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer
Originally Posted By: Blacknad
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Now, tell us about this "Christianity" of yours, I am very interested. But first, read Matt. 7: "Judge not..." And I Corinthians 13--Paul's great poem on the meaning of agape/love.

Originally Posted By: Ellis
The aquisition of language and its use in communication are things that we take for granted and we really shouldn't.

[quote]Ellis asked whether "the aquisition of language is necessary to achieve what is described as meta-cognition?".

Originally Posted By: Blacknad
I havespoken about my Christianity in response to general criticisms here – but only in defence when people are attacking it. I am not shy of attacking the church myself. I think it is acceptable to respond if people bring up the subject in the first place. It is not acceptable to come here and do nothing but propagate it.

As for me reading the verses – I am familiar with them and do not need to be quoted at.................>

Blacknad.


Thank goodness for Ellis, he hit the'nail on the head' when he made the two quotes above, about the use of language.

What needs to be made clear is,...which language?

I cannot understand how anybody, and I am refering to Revking here...how can you have a proper logical discussion regarding
whether "Science is the Answer"....by adding quotations from an ancient Biblical language, into a modern English science format?

What is basically a two language mixture is causing language frustration where the final results are always less meaningful, with no clear final outcome, as an answer.

The ancient Hebrews or Babyloneans in using their language could discuss religion, warfare, food production and human living, all with perfection. (There are no swear words in the Bible)
Few, if any, could discuss the 'Sciences', which was probably filed under magic, or similar.

If you want to discuss only the sciences today, one would use German, and excellent technological language, or English, or even modern Hebrew. (In that order)
The Israelis realised long ago, that they could never compete in the modern world unless they updated the Hebrew language. They have been doing this on a daily basis continuously for over 50 years. Pick up a modern Hebrew dictionary, and check out the mathematic, chemical, technical words in it today. You would be surprised. They comprise over 70% of modern Hebrew words now.

Yes I know most of their technical papers are written in English, but even English borrows technical words from the German. Modern Hebrew borrows from both. Look up some of their scientific achievement sites. This is a simple one:-
http://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/site/HE/homepage.asp

Which is why I cannot understand how anyone can put over a scientific point by mixing ancient quotes from the Bible with a modern language, in trying to put over a scientific point.
It just dosn't work.
The language from the Bible is perfect for Religious discussion, not for Science



_________________________
.

.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#21437 - 05/10/07 05:40 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Mike Kremer]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
This post touches on few of the above points, i.e., philosophy, science, religion, culture and language (of science).

Two quotes from Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos' (1982):

"The last scientist who worked in the Library [of Alexandria] was a mathematician, astronomer, physicist and the head of the Neoplatonic school of philosophy - an extraordinary range of accomplishment for any individual in any age. Her name was Hypatia...Cyril, the Archbishop of Alexandria, despised her because of her close friendship with the Roman governor, and because she was a symbol of learning and science, which were largely identified by the early church with paganism. In great personal danger, she continued to teach and publish, until in the year 415, on her way to work she was set upon by a fanatical mob of Cyril's parishioners. They dragged her from her chariot, tore off her clothes, and, armed with abalone shells, flayed her flesh from her bones. Her remains were burned, her works obliterated, her name forgotten. Cyril was made a saint."

- I quote that because it highlights two points. The first is that religion, contrary to its teaching and as everyone alive today may witness, frequently leads to such deeds. The second is that very many people even in today's sophisticated societies, 1600 years after the murder of Hypatia, apparently continue to see science as a threat to their religion.

"Through technological advances in communication our planet is in the final stages of being bound up at a breakneck pace into a single global society. If we can accomplish the integration of the Earth without obliterating cultural differences or destroying ourselves, we will have accomplished a great thing."

- Science has the potential that religion clearly lacks, to be a unifying force across cultural boundaries. Its language is universal. Science is providing the bedrock of an ethically advanced society based on genuine mutual insight. The insight and the spiritual benefits are not the science or the technology, but rather an indirect product.
_____________________

Off topic quote of the day.

Re: quantum physics: -

"research is so exciting – unpredictable things keep happening all the time.”

Professor Serge Haroche, Collège de France.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21440 - 05/10/07 06:19 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Good post, rede.

Ever since I was in Grade School, and I read about "The Dark Ages", it's bothered me how Religion has tried to stifle Science. Think of where we might be right now if we hadn't spent 500 to 800 years under the Iron Glove of "The Church" in Europe.

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#21449 - 05/10/07 09:54 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
Revlgking Offline
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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: Wolfman
Good post, rede.

Ever since I was in Grade School, and I read about "The Dark Ages", it's bothered me how Religion has tried to stifle Science. Think of where we might be right now if we hadn't spent 500 to 800 years under the Iron Glove of "The Church" in Europe.


Wolfman, are you saying that all religious leaders tried to stifle science? Come now, tell the truth. The truth is certain SICK religionists tried to stifle science.

Keep in mind that many of the early scientists, including Copernicus, were also clergy. Galileo remained faithful to his spiritual beliefs, despite being persecuted by obscurants and bigots around him. Blame the bigots, not the church. Sir Isaac Newton was very devout in matters of religion. J.B. Priestly, the co-discoverer of oxygen was a minister. Gregroire Mendel, the founder of genetics, was a monk. And there are many others.

How do you account for the above?

FOR SCIENCE'S SAKE, TELL THE TRUTH. And keep in mind: Half truths are the same as lies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_science
http://www.religioustolerance.org/sci_rel.htm

EINSTEIN AND GOD
We cannot ignore the fact that Einstein did not ignore rational religion.
http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/

The bigotry of non-believers and atheists also irked him:
http://www.einsteinandreligion.com/atheism.html
In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human understanding, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.

— Prince Hubertus zu Löwenstein, Towards the Further Shore (Victor Gollancz, London, 1968), p. 156; quoted in Jammer, p. 97

Wolfman, my early education was in a church-operated school in Newfoundland. My teachers taught me to respect and love science. I almost became and engineer. When I entered the church, I took this scientific attitude with me.

BTW, I will be very disappointed to find that some so called open-minded scientists--how many do we have in this forum?--can be just as narrow as some religious bigots.



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#21456 - 05/11/07 12:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: Wolfman
Ever since I was in Grade School, and I read about "The Dark Ages", it's bothered me how Religion has tried to stifle Science. Think of where we might be right now if we hadn't spent 500 to 800 years under the Iron Glove of "The Church" in Europe.

Yes, indeed, and let's consider the many Greek scientists and thinkers (or natural philosophers as they were called, even in Newton's day): Thales, Pythagoros, Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Aristarchus, Eristothenes...and so many more. Why were there so many? Here's a suggestion:

"There seems to be no good reason why the Hellenes, clustered in isolated city-states in a relatively poor and backward land, should have struck out into intellectual regions that were only dimly perceived, if at all, by the splendid civilizations of the Yangtze, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the Nile valleys. There were many differences between ancient Greece and the other civilizations, but perhaps the most significant was religion. What is striking about Greek religion, in contrast to the religions of Mesopotamia and Egypt,is its puerility. Both of the great river civilizations evolved complex theologies that served to answer most, if not all, of the large questions about mankind's place and destiny. Greek religion did not."

- Encyclopaedia Britannica 2005
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21464 - 05/11/07 04:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
I'm just repeating a post from earlier; hoping this thread might explore the direction of language, and how it's used.

An interesting Topic might me etymology...maybe later.

Quote: ~samwik
Seen from the outside religions all seem to be saying the same thing, but each religion also seems to define other religions out of the picture. It's like many foreign languages; they may say the same thing, but usually everyone acts as if languages other than their own are just nonsense (or worse, anathematic).

On Topic,

I feel one of the main hinderances to Science being [more of] the Answer, is a similar problem.

Scientists talking to the general public is almost like two different religions trying to talk to one another.

A lifelong interest of mine (since college) was the problem of the chasm between sciences and humanities (in education); and bridging that chasm. In recent years, interest in the problems with the public's perception of science has evolved from that initial interest.

Language is a big part of that problem. Lately I've been toying with the idea of visiting churchs as a "guest lecturer," mainly to talk about climate change and stewardship (the new buzzword).
This thread has helped me see that I'd need to talk about science in general also (and evolution too; yikes!).

Thanks,
~~Samwik


So...a bit TMI, but the motive of trying to reach people is there.

Explaining the terms!

We say 'Evolution' and of course we all know what that means around here.

But wait! I can already see from the fascinating posts recently that we do have different ideas, even among ourselves.

I find the best way to explain things to Grandma is to say, "It's much more complex than anyone even understands at this point, but it involves [something] and relates to such and such or this and that." She doesn't want details.

I guess, 'know your audience,' eh? ....hmmm; profound. Oh Well.

How to explain 'the Answer,' that Science is?

...and so much other fascinating stuff to think about, too.
GW: Solar Input v. CO2.
Evo: Graduated v. Punctuated.

Black v. White
Analog v. Digital

~ smile Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21467 - 05/11/07 05:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Revking wrote:

Keep in mind that many of the early scientists, including Copernicus, were also clergy. Galileo remained faithful to his spiritual beliefs, despite being persecuted by obscurants and bigots around him. Blame the bigots, not the church. Sir Isaac Newton was very devout in matters of religion. J.B. Priestly, the co-discoverer of oxygen was a minister. Gregroire Mendel, the founder of genetics, was a monk. And there are many others.

Granted, History remembers those who were able to overcome the adversity of the Church. But, for every Copernicus, how many Hypatia's did we lose? We can never know.

If we are to survive as a species, we need a major change on attitude. Religion, at least Western Religion, teaches that "all will be forgiven", the intimation being that you'll be alright, personally, just Pay The Lady. The facts, our burgeoning population, the massive loss of plant and animal species, and the current ruin of the biosphere, suggest otherwise. We must change our priorities.

I live in a very beautiful part of the World, the South Pacific. We get a lot of Cruise Ships coming here. In 2005, passengers around the World invested 14 Billion dollars on Sea Cruises. Last year, worldwide, 400 billion was spent on cigarettes and 80 billion on Beer. Since 1985 the World Wildlife Fund has donanted 1 billion dollars toward various projects.

Crisis? What Crisis?


Edited by Wolfman (05/11/07 05:08 AM)

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#21476 - 05/11/07 09:28 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: Wolfman
Revking wrote:

Keep in mind that many of the early scientists, including Copernicus, were also clergy. Galileo remained faithful to his spiritual beliefs, despite being persecuted by obscurants and bigots around him. Blame the bigots, not the church. Sir Isaac Newton was very devout in matters of religion. J.B. Priestly, the co-discoverer of oxygen was a minister. Gregroire Mendel, the founder of genetics, was a monk. And there are many others.

Granted, History remembers those who were able to overcome the adversity of the Church. But, for every Copernicus, how many Hypatia's did we lose? We can never know.

If we are to survive as a species, we need a major change on attitude. Religion, at least Western Religion, teaches that "all will be forgiven", the intimation being that you'll be alright, personally, just Pay The Lady. The facts, our burgeoning population, the massive loss of plant and animal species, and the current ruin of the biosphere, suggest otherwise. We must change our priorities.

I live in a very beautiful part of the World, the South Pacific. We get a lot of Cruise Ships coming here. In 2005, passengers around the World invested 14 Billion dollars on Sea Cruises. Last year, worldwide, 400 billion was spent on cigarettes and 80 billion on Beer. Since 1985 the World Wildlife Fund has donanted 1 billion dollars toward various projects.

Crisis? What Crisis?



Yes, Priorities! Depressing Numbers.

Everyone HAD to be religious back in those days (even if they thought they might have a choice). I s'pose I'm overstating that a little, but not much.

Interestingly, about Newton, if he hadn't been so religious and thus so obsessed with keeping his mind off of sex, he wouldn't have occupied his mind so completely with math and physics.
Is that a good effect or a bad effect of religion?

Certainly there are innumerable examples of religion's good and bad impact on individuals, communities, and societies throughout history.

So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

I ran across this on PNAS, kind of as an example of "scientific understanding of religion," and it relates to language/communication issues.

We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values.
PNAS | May 1, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 18 | 7357-7360


So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21477 - 05/11/07 12:29 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: samwik
Interestingly, about Newton, if he hadn't been so religious and thus so obsessed with keeping his mind off of sex, he wouldn't have occupied his mind so completely with math and physics.
Is that a good effect or a bad effect of religion?

Well, yes, Newton was religious, but I would doubt that his achievements had anything to do with religion:

"Until Hanna [his mother] returned to Woolsthorpe in 1653 after the death of her second husband, Newton was denied his mother's attention, a possible clue to his complex character. Newton's childhood was anything but happy, and throughout his life he verged on emotional collapse, occasionally falling into violent and vindictive attacks against friend and foe alike...In 1678, Newton suffered a serious emotional breakdown, and in the following year his mother died. Newton's response was to cut off contact with others and engross himself in alchemical research. These studies, once an embarrassment to Newton scholars, were not misguided musings but rigorous investigations into the hidden forces of nature. Newton's alchemical studies opened theoretical avenues not found in the mechanical philosophy, the world view that sustained his early work. While the mechanical philosophy reduced all phenomena to the impact of matter in motion, the alchemical tradition upheld the possibility of attraction and repulsion at the particulate level. Newton's later insights in celestial mechanics can be traced in part to his alchemical interests. By combining action-at-a-distance and mathematics, Newton transformed the mechanical philosophy by adding a mysterious but no less measurable quantity, gravitational force."

http://web.clas.ufl.edu/users/rhatch/pages/01-Courses/current-courses/08sr-newton.htm

Originally Posted By: samwik
We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values.
PNAS | May 1, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 18 | 7357-7360

Yes, we can see there the contrast between the scientific objectivity in the report, and the religious subjectivity in the antagonists' position. The former is helpful and constructive, the latter divisive and destructive.

Originally Posted By: samwik
So what about now, and the future, where we have more choice; what language do we use to change priorities?

I predict that the language of religion will fail and the language of science, rooted in hamanitarian ethics, will succeed - because it's the universal language, the 'Red Cross' of languages, applicable to all.
_________________________
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#21512 - 05/12/07 09:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
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Ready-when-you-are writes: "I predict that the language of religion will fail and the language of science, rooted in hamanitarian ethics, will succeed..."

If by "language of religion" you are referring to the language used by traditional theists to describe God and religion, I hope you are right when you say it "will fail". However, human nature, as a whole, being what it is, I will not hold my breath.

BTW, as a unitheist, I am all in favour of humanitarian ethics. For information on unitheism, check out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitheism

Check out the discussion section. It has created quite an interesting controversy. And so, like any creative idea, it should.


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#21516 - 05/13/07 02:02 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Ellis Offline
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Rev wrote;
Would you prefer I spend my time telling people what I do NOT believe?

Rev, you just refuse to get the point. Noone here cares much about what you believe or don't believe. Religion is a founded on belief in something which cannot be proven.

Science isn't.

This is a forum that is about science topics.

So the science-types here don't care about your beliefs or lack of beliefs. They have (mostly), I think, been remarkably tolerant of your constant attempts to push your odd version of religion, I hesitate to call it Christianity. There are plenty of welcoming forums for you to spread your theories, there are relatively few forums devoted just to science.

Leave them alone.

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#21517 - 05/13/07 03:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: Ellis
... No one here cares much about what you believe or don't believe...
Are you scientifically sure fo this? Let's do a scientific poll: How many second Ellis' opinion? And this is not the first time I have made this suggestion.

BTW, Ellis, if you are are not interested, how come you and many others--check the, scientific, stats--keep on reading what I write in this section? laugh Forgive me, Ellis, I just couldn't resist! smile

"This is a forum that is about science topics." Really? Then why have a section with the title: Not Quite...?"
But seriously, when no one reads or writes to this section, I will fade away. 'til then, let's have fun.


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#21541 - 05/14/07 08:30 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I believe science is when faith is proven. People had faith that the earth was once round now it is science. Science is only faith proven to be correct.



Edited by Amaranth Rose II (05/14/07 10:37 PM)

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#21547 - 05/14/07 09:50 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: ]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Clint. I don't think people ever had "faith" the world was round. They had faith the earth was flat until it was proved otherwise.

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#21554 - 05/14/07 12:01 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Originally Posted By: Revlgking
BTW, Ellis, if you are are not interested, how come you and many others--check the, scientific, stats--keep on reading what I write in this section?


The stats simply prove that people view this thread - whether they view it specifically to read what you type is debatable - there are many contributing.

Blacknad.

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#21555 - 05/14/07 12:06 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Blacknad]
Blacknad Offline
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Clint,

While we appreciate your comments, Penis Enlargement is off-topic and is certainly nothing to do with the answer as mentioned in the thread title.

Your link seems to be here solely to increase traffic to that site.

Can a moderator possibly remove the link?

Blacknad.

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#21559 - 05/14/07 04:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Revlgking Offline
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Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Clint. I don't think people ever had "faith" the world was round. They had faith the earth was flat until it was proved otherwise.


Terry:
Read about Aristarchus of Samos.
http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/biography/Aristarchus.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristarchus_of_Samos

The narrow scientists of his day accused him of insane.

This, by Nick Greene, is interesting:

It is said that Nicolaus Copernicus, himself, at first credited Aristarchus in his treatise, "De revolutionibus caelestibus," In it he wrote, "Philolaus believed in the mobility of the earth, and some even say that Aristarchus of Samos was of that opinion." This line was crossed out prior to its publication.

As with his birth and life, little is known of his death. A crater on the moon is named for him, in its center is a peak which is the brightest formation on the Moon.

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#21562 - 05/14/07 08:20 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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"The narrow scientists of his day accused him of insane."
Early science was not distinguished from philosophy - and the rejection of Aristarchus is one effect of that. People may have accused Aristarchus of being wrong, but none accused him of being an ignoramus. Aristarchus had good reasons for his opinions, but the scale of distances he was talking about were unbelievable to most people (infinity). Archimedes was one of those who disagreed with him - the same Archimedes who was one of the top 4 mathematicians of all time, and among the greatest scientists who ever lived. Hardly a "narrow" scientist. Nevertheless it's important to distinguish the scientists who disagreed from the philosophers and politicians who might have argued for some kind of suppression or punishment.

But even in that period, the world was known to be round - Eratosthenes was a contemporary of Archimedes and computed the circumference of the world.


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#21566 - 05/14/07 09:34 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Wolfman Offline
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Samwik wrote -
Everyone HAD to be religious back in those days (even if they thought they might have a choice). I s'pose I'm overstating that a little, but not much.

Good point, but not ALL Scientific Minds were religious back then.
Ever heard of Tycho Brahe? He was years ahead of his time. He didn't need to be associated with the Church because he was born of Noble Blood. In fact, at one point in his life it was said that he owned 1% of all the wealth of Denmark. Religious? Oh, far from it! His drunken parties were the stuff of legend. At one big drunk-up, he challenged somebody to a duel with Rapiers. He got his nose cut off. For the rest of his life he wore a gold prosthetic nose. He had a pet Moose. At one party the Moose got so drunk that it fell down a flight of stairs and died. Brahe had a pet Dwarf!! The dwarf's name was Jepp, I believe, and Brahe had him dressed up as a Court Jester.
But he had a brilliant mind. And, because he did not fear the Church, he could speak his mind. He reported a star going supernova in 1572. In fact, he is credited with coining the term "Nova". Other Astronomers must have seen it, it was in Cassiopeia. But, as it was an "Act of God", they didn't dare speak openly of it. Tycho, or "The Tyche-ster", published a book on it.
He was also an accomplished astrologer, and the most accurate meteorologist of his time. He was even an Alchemist. At the time of his death he was said to be working at finding a "cure" for Homosexuality! Ya gotta love this guy!


Edited by Wolfman (05/14/07 09:38 PM)

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#21584 - 05/15/07 08:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
samwik Offline
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"At the time of his death he was said to be working at finding a "cure" for Homosexuality! Ya gotta love this guy!" -Wolfman

Maybe that was Newton's motive for delving so deeply into Alchemy (as well as his mental feats) also!
I wonder if this could have been a common, widespread "motive." I have previously wondered if that motive of "finding a cure" was what leads some people to become such advocates and leaders of religion. Just look at the news!

~SA
wink
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21733 - 05/21/07 02:11 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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If you have a high speed connection, and some patience, you can download an excellent video from:-

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8133582867583552629&q=einstein+duration%3Along&hl=en

Its a 233 MB mp4 file (might be less in the alternative google video 'giv' format)

It's well worth it watching, and fits this thread topic beautifully!!!....

Details: -

Nobel Conference: The Legacy of Einstein. [Sep 2005], From Gustavus Adophus College

This is a lecture by George F.R. Ellis, Professor of Complex Systems, author of "Theology, Cosmology, and Ethics"


From his summary notes:

" It is the overall set of laws and initial conditions that make our own existence possible.

There is a considerable degree of fine-tuning of initial conditions and laws that underlies this existence.

The ultimate reason this is so is a metaphysical issue that is undecidable through any scientific experimentation.

Positive Ethics (sympathy/compassion) is crucial to our survival on a cosmological timescale, on our own and in a possible interstellar interaction:

- this is not attainable by science alone. We have to go to some other resources - philosophy, religion, spirituality - in order to be able to make the kind of ethical transition that is necessary."


There's something for us all in the lecture, and he says it much better than we can on the forum.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21743 - 05/22/07 06:34 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
redewenur Offline
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Sir Harry Kroto, Nobel laureate, is Francis Eppes Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Florida State University.

This is an abridged version of a chapter in his book 'Can the Prizes Still Glitter?':

http://education.guardian.co.uk/universitiesincrisis/story/0,,2084784,00.html

"...we desperately need a scientifically literate general population, capable of thinking rationally - and that includes lawyers, businesspeople, farmers, politicians, journalists and athletes. This is vital if we are to secure a sustainable world for our grandchildren".

"The scientific method is based on what I prefer to call the inquiring mindset. It includes all areas of human thoughtful activity that categorically eschew "belief", the enemy of rationality."

"Do I think there is any hope for UK? I am really not sure. It is beyond belief that in the 21st century, our prime minister and the Department for Education and Skills are diverting taxpayers' money to faith-based groups intent on propagating culturally divisive dogma that is antagonistic to the secular, enlightened philosophy that created the modern world."

"It is truly disturbing that a well-funded cohort of religious groups - aided, abetted and condoned by the Labour government - is undermining our science education."
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21748 - 05/22/07 07:50 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Wolfman Offline
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A very good read, if somewhat depressing. I agree with this fellow though. I had two childhood acquaintabces who went on to become scientists. One, a Nuclear Physicist, had to live with his parents until he was 30. The other, a Geneticist, made his money through books and TV, not the actual "Science" itself. You need to have a passion if you want to get into Science for a living.

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#21750 - 05/22/07 11:26 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
redewenur Offline
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Yes, I guess it's always been that way. My first job, at 16 yrs old, was as a lab technician. There were guys there with BSc, PhD in sight, earning less than my friend, a postman. Things are a little better now, but the research infrastructure is decaying. Still, let's look on the bright side - the UK should soon have more than enough psychologists and sociologists to figure out why the government is allowing it to happen. In the USA, the problem is different. There we see half the population, whilst avidly reaping the benefits of the worlds best applied science, claim that the universe was created 6000 yrs ago. Again, let's look on the bright side - that's about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue, so maybe they'll never make it stick.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21761 - 05/23/07 09:15 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
In the USA, the problem is different. There we see half the population, whilst avidly reaping the benefits of the worlds best applied science, claim that the universe was created 6000 yrs ago. Again, let's look on the bright side - that's about a thousand years after the Sumerians invented glue, so maybe they'll never make it stick.
Rede, thanks for the LOL.

Thanks for this "Lecture" link also. It's great to hear these ideas expressed so coherently.
It took me a while to get through it. The first 20 munites are basic BigBang, Evolution, and Cosmology; but finally, at 22:00 minutes, he gets into psychology and ethics.

...just a couple of technicalities (and a few things I learned):

It's an elegant presentation, but I don't think it is fair that he recapitulates his heirarchy and then adds on "faith and hope," quickly at the end of his list. That list had culminated with ethics. How did he add on...? (at ~26:20)
Am I wrong? Did he derive faith and hope somewhere, as he earlier derived ethics?

I liked his 'persuasion vs. coercion' points; but is he equating persuasion with "faith and hope?"

Deep, kenotic, or compassionate ethics.
kenotic?


kenosis: an emptying. Theology: as 'Jesus' humbling himself by taking on the form of man.' -my dictionary...
...or kenotic (self-emptying) ~link; 33:15.
...like 'empty yourself of desire to achieve nirvana,' I suppose.

I liked his "realistic universal ethic," but to say it'll be discovered by any spiritually advanced people ... or kind anywhere...," and then equate "spiritually advanced" with "ethically advanced, intellegent being anywhere...." is an example of his general thrust in equating religion with compassion. (~37:00)

Later....
All the string theory fans laughed when he asked "Why should those laws, -why should the Group (SO)10, have life written into it?

I liked the question about Einstein's sense of a "cosmic religion" and scientist's "difficulty communicating this sort of deep spirituality which pervades fundemental science."

The answer was focused mainly on people's reaction to the idea "that science contradicts religion." (i.e. Dawkins, et al.)

...and finally:
I'd like to hear Terry's take on Ellis' comments about Nationalism and Evolutionary Biology (the last Q & A; 56:00).

Thanks, smile

~SA

p.s. I've tried, but apologies if I misquoted anywhere as it's hard to hear in some places.

p.p.s. Redewenur, as you said, "...and fits this thread topic beautifully!!!...."

...and your excellent summary bears repeating:

"Positive Ethics (sympathy/compassion) is crucial to our survival on a cosmological timescale, on our own and in a possible interstellar interaction:

- this is not attainable by science alone. We have to go to some other resources - philosophy, religion, spirituality - in order to be able to make the kind of ethical transition that is necessary." -rede


_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21762 - 05/23/07 11:42 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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Originally Posted By: samwik
I don't think it is fair that he recapitulates his heirarchy and then adds on "faith and hope," quickly at the end of his list. That list had culminated with ethics. How did he add on...? (at ~26:20)
Am I wrong? Did he derive faith and hope somewhere, as he earlier derived ethics?

He refered to faith and hope on two previous occasions.
At 23:~
"In order for a brain to make sense it must first have a rationality function and the ability to take data, analyse it, and compare it with the evidence. But, there's never enough evidence...and in the end your rationality comes to an end, and always, in any real life situation - you've got a certain amount of evidence - you have to complete your basic choices on the basis of faith and hope - think about your choice of a life companion, or your job, or where your going to live."
At 24:5~,
"balance between rationality, and faith and hope".

His use of the words is not confined to the religious context.

Originally Posted By: samwik
I liked his 'persuasion vs. coercion' points; but is he equating persuasion with "faith and hope?"

I don't think so. I think he means that coercion is the less ethical. Like, "You look like a kind person. Would you mind helping me?", compared with, "Do as I say, or you're dead meat"

Originally Posted By: samwik
I liked his "realistic universal ethic," but to say it'll be discovered by any spiritually advanced people ... or kind anywhere...," and then equate "spiritually advanced" with "ethically advanced, intellegent being anywhere...." is an example of his general thrust in equating religion with compassion. (~37:00)

He says, "[True ethics] is recognised as the highest good by all the major world religions". However, I don't think he means that religion is a pre-requisite for spirituality. His 'spirituality' seems to be evidenced by ethics that, on our planet, happen to be found within religions. He doesn't say that they aren't also found elsewhere.

I agree with him.

Science doesn't actually contradict religion (per se) - but it does demonstrate that many religious beliefs are based on dogmatic and false assumptions about the physical universe. The spiritual aspects of religion - the vital and essential core of all the major religions - is untouchable by science; and it's profoundly ethical. I think he was saying that.

He's certainly right in saying that for us - for any civilization on any planet - to survive it's own technological development, such ethics and a corresponding spirituality must prevail.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21775 - 05/24/07 07:52 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Rede,

Quote:
He refered to faith and hope on two previous occasions.

Hey! Thanks for catching that.

I recalled hearing the part about where he talked about the limits of rationality, but....
Anyway, thanks again for your post. It's nice to have everything clear and fit together.

I hope to listen to several other lectures from that site. I noticed they had a Charlie Rose icon. I saw most of a show last Fall, with James Watson & E.O. Wilson talking together!

Cheers,
~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21776 - 05/24/07 08:21 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Samwik wrote:

"I'd like to hear Terry's take on Ellis' comments about Nationalism and Evolutionary Biology (the last Q & A; 56:00)."

I must have missed something Sam. What are you referring to? Different Terry, different Ellis?


Edited by terrytnewzealand (05/24/07 08:28 AM)

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#21777 - 05/24/07 08:44 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
samwik Offline
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Prof. George F. R. Ellis!

I can be pretty dense sometimes. I didn't even realize the coincidence in names.
...re: your edit.



...anyway

Hiya Terry!

This is referring to the hour long video from this link:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8133582867583552629&q=einstein+duration%3Along&hl=en
(post #21733).

The previous couple of posts (previous page?) are sort of "reviews," or comments on the video (and include timecodes).
But you can scroll forward to time ~56:00 to just hear the question.

Seeya,
~Sam
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21778 - 05/24/07 08:46 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Thanks Sam. I thought I must be off my tree. Quite possible of course. Our computer is pretty old so I took note of the comment about download time and haven't looked at the video. Might give it a go.

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#21779 - 05/24/07 09:09 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
samwik Offline
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Terry,
I don't always have good luck with videos, but this one worked for me on RealPlayer.

...and, just fyi....

As I recall, Prof. Ellis said "reason" is what we use to reconcile emotions/intuition and rationality/evidence, and harmonize these with ethics.

I notice Al Gore has a new book out, The Assault on Reason.

He's gonna be guesting on the Daily Show, tonight (Thursday, 5/24).

Cheers,
~Samwik
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21780 - 05/24/07 09:13 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Got it. Two or three words at a time but I think I followed it. Way back Dan Morgan equated nationalism with religion and I tend to agree. The reason I indicate where I come from in my name here is that I believe where you come from influences your outlook.

I have no problems with a world government but it's difficult to achieve without it simply resulting from those with the strongest armed forces assuming control. (The aim of a certain nationalistic government at present?).

Ellis's comments comparing nationalism with evolutionary biology is a result of the view I've been harping on about all along. Evolution is NOT the result of survival of the fittest, an in group and an out group. Evolution results from the mixing of genes and survival of offspring. Individuals of a species survive as a consequence of a whole series of events. It is not always an advantage to be the fastest and finish up in front. Besides, any species needs a whole heap of genes to survive, more than can be found in any one individual. Inbreeding is almost always disadvantageous to a population. That is probably the reason so many isolated indigenous human populations were so ready to form hybrids with Europeans when they first arrived. It was only once Europeans began to arrive in huge numbers and to isolate themselves from the indigenous populations that troube arose in a big way. Anyway, enough of a rave for now.

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#21783 - 05/24/07 11:26 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
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Terry: "I have no problems with a world government but it's difficult to achieve without it simply resulting from those with the strongest armed forces assuming control. (The aim of a certain nationalistic government at present?)."

Very true. It's my hope (against hope) that Noam Chomsky becomes a household name.

I'm quite sure that success, with regard to both the particulars, such as world government, and the general, i.e. our survival as a species, relies upon the the evolution of societies into the ethical entities spoken of by Prof. Ellis. It's argued that there's evidence of evolution in this direction.
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#21788 - 05/25/07 01:18 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Redewenur wrote:

"It's my hope (against hope) that Noam Chomsky becomes a household name."

Yes.

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#21794 - 05/25/07 07:16 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: terrytnewzealand
Ellis's comments comparing nationalism with evolutionary biology is a result of the view I've been harping on about all along. Evolution is NOT the result of survival of the fittest, an 'in group' and an 'out group'.

Terry, I thought you'd be interested in this "definition," as well as the website. smile

http://www.anthrobase.com/default.html

"Social theory developed in the 19th century, which had fundamental influence on sociological and anthropological thinking up until the First World War (see structural functionalism). Evolutionism postulates that societies develop from simpler to more complex organizational forms, a simple formulation, which hardly anyone would disagree with, even today. In the 19th century, however, one often also imagined that development proceeded by necessity toward morally "superior" and more "civilized" conditions (a view that was widely abandoned after the First World War). In more modern variants, evolutionism is often tied to theories of modernization and scale, ecological anthropology, and research on development and underdevelopment. Levi-Strauss has shown that movements from "primitive" to "modern" thought not only implies increasing complexity, but a change in the type of complexity (see bricoleur)." -from
http://www.anthrobase.com/Dic/eng/def/evolutionism.htm

~SA

p.s. I agree, I don't think it's a very good analogy. They're both very complex progressive systems, but the particulars don't equate very well. IMHO
~S.


Edited by samwik (05/25/07 07:19 AM)
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#21797 - 05/25/07 10:37 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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That's a good link Sam. Thanks.

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#21799 - 05/26/07 02:17 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Wolfman Offline
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Dream on about ole Noam becoming a household name in the States. He once called the US media the "Propoganda Arm" of the American Government.
He's more well-known in Europe than in the US.

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#21801 - 05/26/07 03:20 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Wolfman]
redewenur Offline
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(Social evolution and political awareness)

Yes, Wolfman, in the US, he had no hope of renown before the advent of the internet. Now, with its ever growing use, his prospects are at least better than zero. In the UK, I think the political climate can accommodate him very well. The thinking electorate knows that its trust in the leadership has been betrayed, that it's been deliberately deceived, its intelligence slighted, and democracy abused. It's time we saw more of the social evolution that we talk about - it should make better progress in a democracy, where exchange of information and ideas occurs more readily.
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#21808 - 05/26/07 06:24 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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No relation though my father was called George!

Chomsky got himself into trouble commenting about the War on Terror didn't he? So it is highly unlikely much will be heard of him that is positive, here in Oz or in the U.S.

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#21809 - 05/26/07 07:04 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Well, if science deals with facts, politics deals with illusions. Chomsky is masterful at exposing those illusions for what they are. Not only does that scare the politicians, it also causes indignation among a populace that's very comfortable with those illusions "thanks, anyway, Professor Chomsky". It's only when the government misinformation system go awry (as with Iraq) that people sit up and take notice. Even then, too many are propelled along the party line by a false sense of patriotism.

The point is, people are happy with their illusions/delusions - whether they be political or religious. It's unscientific, it's short-sighted - at it's worst it's genocidal - but it's understandable.
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#21810 - 05/26/07 07:23 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
samwik Offline
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I think Norm Chomsky's knowledge of how language can be used to manipulate is probably what led him to become so politically active. In the current political climate, he eloquently and radically presents one side.
He did start out as a sort of linguistic philosopher. Now it seems as if he spends half his time defending against responses from the other side.
I think he would appreciate Al Gore's new book Assault on Reason.

~Samwik...

http://www.chomsky.info/whatsnew.htm
Making Sense of What Doesn't Make the News, by Antonia Zerbisias, The Toronto Star (May 18, 2007). An excerpt:
Here at the University of Windsor, where some 300 scholars, students and media guerrillas are revisiting Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky's groundbreaking "propaganda model" on the eve of its 20th anniversary, the talk is of how to take back the public agenda and make it serve the public interest instead of the corporate bottom line.

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20070105.htm
South America: Toward an Alternative Future. International Herald Tribune. January 5, 2007.
In the Cochabamba Declaration, the presidents and envoys of 12 countries agreed to study the idea of forming a continent-wide community similar to the European Union.
The declaration marks another stage toward regional integration in South America, 500 years after the European conquests. The subcontinent, from Venezuela to Argentina, may yet present an example to the world on how to create an alternative future from a legacy of empire and terror.
....Other promising developments include Telesur, a new pan-Latin American TV channel based in Venezuela and an effort to break the Western media monopoly.

http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20050716.pdf
The Resort to Fear July '05, -p.11
"Even after official inquiries have completely undermined government-media propaganda about Saddam's WMD and links to al-Qaeda, half the population continue to believe the charges, and thus support not only the invasion...."
"We cannot underestimate the threat of terror, or the cynicism of centers of power in pursuit of their own often despicable ends, or the murderous violence to which they will resort if authority is granted to them by a frightened population."

~This could easily be over on the "Language" thread, eh? smile ~SA
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Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21836 - 05/29/07 01:39 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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From: The Atheism Tapes 2 - Steven Weinberg [video length 28m]

"I have a friend - or had a friend, now dead - Abdul Salam, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf States, and he told me that he had a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be a corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief, and it's a good thing too." [26:58 - 27:35]

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2260129385438753065&q=The+Atheism+Tapes&hl=en
_________________________
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#21912 - 06/05/07 02:06 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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I have enjoyed reading the Atheism Tapes. However I, as a non-scientist (in the biggest way possible), believe that basically science will always be unacceptable to orthodox religion. Science constantly challenges and tests existing paradigms and beliefs; religions, on the other hand, encourage acceptance of, and unquestioning faith in their beliefs. Also- to return to a favourite point of mine, all religions need a belief in the supernatural or the divine to function, and science, while accomodating this for some believers, does not need it.

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#21913 - 06/05/07 02:43 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Ellis: "Science constantly challenges and tests existing paradigms and beliefs; religions, on the other hand, encourage acceptance of, and unquestioning faith in their beliefs."

As long as religious 'beliefs' continue to demand ignorance of science, and propagate delusions and lies about physical reality, they will be roundly and justly condemned.

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"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21914 - 06/05/07 05:58 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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I agree rede- but there is also the point that science is ready to test its OWN conclusions too, something that religion usually discourages, often by punishment of the offender. In religion only one point of view can be considered, only one point of view can be right.

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#21915 - 06/05/07 07:37 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Certainly true, Ellis. There's more to the danger of religion than the threat to science. Religious assertions of other kinds, equally devoid of rationality, are a threat to anyone who fails to accept those assertions.

For these reasons, religion IS NOT the answer. Irrational institutions cannot be relied upon to uphold sound ethical and moral systems, and the whole of recorded history provides plentiful evidence that.

Science IS the answer. Not only is it a requirement for sustainable civilization, it is also rational and universally appilicable. Its rationality does nothing to impede the development of ethical and moral societies.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21917 - 06/05/07 08:33 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Amen.


Edited by terrytnewzealand (06/05/07 08:38 AM)

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#21918 - 06/05/07 09:19 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
Science IS the answer. Not only is it a requirement for sustainable civilization, it is also rational and universally appilicable. Its rationality does nothing to impede the development of ethical and moral societies.

Whether we go (or have gone) over a tipping point or not, we'll still need to adjust (it's just a question of how much).

Hypothetically, if an asteroid were heading for Earth, wouldn't we employ some technological solution to deal with the problem? -A kind of world unifying type of solution (or at least a half-assed attempt). We wouldn't wait for it to hit and then "just" adjust or adapt. It would be too cataclysmic; once civilization falls apart, it's pretty hard to revive it.

The old joke about everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it, was a joke because it was inconceivable that we could control the weather (or climate). We've been changing the climate unintentionally on a regional level for over 2000 years now. In the Little Ice Age, Daniel Webster noted that "frost follows the plow."
Maybe we should start doing it intentionally.

There are many "forcers, " in addition to CO2, which could create a sudden change in our relatively stable climate. Ultimately we can't know what the climate will do, so shouldn't we attempt to employ some solutions that would give us control over the climate? Something, or a combination of techniques, which would function as a sort of thermostat for the planet.

Obviously there's the difficulty factor, and the "unintended consequences" factor, but hypothetically, wouldn't it be nice to have a thermostat (since we can't know the future climate)?

~SA

I should probably reread this, as I've been adding and adjusting alot; but it's late and I think the general idea comes across.

Is science or adaptation the answer?
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21919 - 06/05/07 10:40 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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samwik

We all have no doubt that science is the only answer to threats such as Near Earth Objects and climate change. Only science has the potential to determine the appropriate response to these threats. Science is our only recourse; where the complexity of the problem, and the required data and knowledge are beyond the limits of science, we have lost a battle, and possibly the war. That's why scientific progress is so vitally important.

As to what actually constitutes the appropriate response to specific threats, other threads would be required for the discussion (like the Climate Change Forum).

You raise an important point. We are living in an era in which there is wordwide recognition of global threats to humanity: - climate change, NEOs, over-population, disease, famine, pollution, ozone layer depletion, loss of bio-diversity, etc. These are not imaginary, neither are they (with the barely possible exception of NEO impact), in the distant future. They require a global response. Scientists hold one key, politicians hold another...needless to say, science desperately needs public support.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21922 - 06/05/07 08:14 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Originally Posted By: redewenur
We all have no doubt that science is the only answer to threats such as Near Earth Objects and climate change. ....


I read the first paragraph about 15 minutes before I finished your post. After I finished, I kept wondering what NEO's were. Neo-conservatives? Non-Educated Oafs? New Earth Order? Finally it dawned on me. I gave myself a good laugh (...and, was that second one redundant?)!

So.... Thanks for the response. I needed something to get me thinking again.

"...science desperately needs public support." -rede.

It's Hard Out Here for a Scientis'. [...what's that song? It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp!]

...hence my blog about Public Perception of Science/Scientists (that I should work on more).
...something about outreach, the fine line between condescension and jargon, etc.
...for a different thread, eh?

Interestingly, all the listed "threats to humanity" are either a cause of, or a consequence of climate change. [disease could be argued either way I 'spose]

After thinking about this for a while, I ended up in a sustainable-future scenario where our oxygen, fuel and Soylent Green are made from the algae of our eutrophying oceans (fed by the consumptive population machine).

...that's the more "negative" of the sustainable options.

...for another forum, eh?

More later, I hope.

Thanks again,
~SA
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21924 - 06/05/07 09:50 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
redewenur Offline
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samwik

Sorry about the "NEO" bit. I guess it was Not Especially Obvious grin

'Interestingly, all the listed "threats to humanity" are either a cause of, or a consequence of climate change.'

- I would say it's more likely that they all arise from over-population (except for NEOs, of course - the legal beagles would probably call those 'acts of God'!)

Incidentally, returning to topic, if you haven't already taken a look at the Beyond Belief 2006 series of videos, there are ten, and they are here:

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=Beyond+belief&hl=en
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21926 - 06/06/07 05:20 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

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Registered: 12/16/06
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To which one of those links were you referring?

Amaranth
_________________________
If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose


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#21928 - 06/06/07 06:53 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
redewenur Offline
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Amaranth

I'm referring to all ten of them - "Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 1", to "Beyond Belief 2006 - Session 10". Those are the full length Google videos, not the Youtube clips.

They are a series of "conversations", in chronological order, held at the Salk Institute, with the full title "Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival."

I've seen only the first three (or two and a bit, rather - the first appears to have a technical problem, as picture and sound broke up after ?15 minutes). I found Sessions 2 & 3 to be very engrossing, and I'm looking forward to seeing the rest.

The only drawback: - downloading takes so long. Now I understand why the UK is installing 32 Mbps broadband!
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21933 - 06/06/07 08:26 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Changing direction a bit, but staying with is science the answer, I've been meaning to post this for a few days. Comment from the University of Auckland Alumni magazine. Deals specifically with NZ situation but I'm sure the same prevails elsewhere. In fact her comments are relevant to the influence of religion generally. Author is Dr. Elizabeth Rata, principal lecturer in education. The article is critical of the lack of criticism of traditional beliefs.

"Traditional cultures and neotraditionalist groups within modern societies turn their answers into sacred knowledge. This serves a number of purposes: as the group's social cement, as a means for the spiritual well-being of individuals who identify with the group, and in the case of neotraditionalist groups, the sacralisation of knowledge is used to justify strategies promoting political and economic interests.

"Science, on the other hand, is skeptical, refusing to accept the latest answer as the final say on the matter. It doubts, investigates, overturns and attempts new answers, ones that will stand only until the next challenger. Both forms of knowledge are important. But only science has a place in the work of a university.

"Mataurangi Maori and kaupapa Maori have the status of science in our universities yet, unlike science, are protected from critical scrutiny. How this came about is itself a matter for inquiry".

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#21934 - 06/06/07 09:21 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
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Good post, Terry. Here's a quote on a similar theme:

"The point is not that all religious people are bad; it is not that all bad things are done in the name of religion; and it is not that scientists are never bad, or wrong, or self-deceived. The point is this: intellectual honesty is better (more enlightened, more useful, less dangerous, more in touch with reality, etc. ) than dogmatism. The degree to which science is committed to the former, and religion to the latter remains one of the most salient and appalling disparities to be found in human discourse. Scientists spend an extraordinary amount of time worrying about being wrong and take great pains to prove others so. In fact, science is the one area of discourse in which a person can win considerable prestige by proving himself wrong."

- Sam Harris, Neuroscience researcher; Author, Letter to a Christian Nation

Here's yet another who speaks up for the full relevance of science to society:

"Scientists have in fact done tremendous good to ease human pain and suffering and make life on Earth more enjoyable, at least for those with access to its benefits. Moreover, science is, without question, the most finely honed tool we have for separating truth from falsehood, and its objective findings can, should and must be the guide in setting the parameters within which questions of ethics and morality are decided."

"I do believe that there is an opportunity and a need to spread the word, not heard or appreciated widely enough, that science is a positive transforming feature of human culture, that what it has bequeathed to us so far has revolutionized human existence for the better, has shown us with great clarity our connectedness to, and our place in, the magnificent scheme of Universal existence, and that these truths, along with a strong, secular moral philosophy that emphasizes goodness over evil, can be empowering, uplifting, spiritually fulfilling, and form the foundation of a meaningful life..."

- Carolyn Porco, Planetary Scientist; Cassini Imaging Science Team Leader; Director CICLOPS, Boulder CO; Adjunct Professor, University of Colorado, University of Arizona
____________________

An interesting contrast between UK and US stats, from

http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,,1978045,00.html [December 23, 2006]

"The poll also reveals that non-believers outnumber believers in Britain by almost two to one. It paints a picture of a sceptical nation with massive doubts about the effect religion has on society: 82% of those questioned say they see religion as a cause of division and tension between people. Only 16% disagree."

So, since many claim that ethics and morality depend on religion, they must surely see the UK as an exceptionally wicked society.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21943 - 06/07/07 01:35 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
Ellis Offline
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rede wrote;
So, since many claim that ethics and morality depend on religion, they must surely see the UK as an exceptionally wicked society.

I think they do in fact use that argument as a reason for violent reaction. Fundamental Islamists use it regularly, and back it up by bombing trains. They regard modern societies as bad and immoral. Maybe they are, but does that entitle anyone to take the lives of dissenters? The same sort of fanatics kill staff in at Abortion Clinics in the US. They think view is right, yours is wrong so they kill you (and anyone else in the vicinity).

Relgion of a fanatical kind is anti-society, whereas the behavioural rules that underpin most religions are often benign, and do not, in fact, require irrational beliefs to be operational and beneficial--thus are quite good for society!l Most modern societies try to not have too much emphasis on religion as part of government, in fact even the US constitution does not mention god in its original draft. (And having written that I have lost my nerve! but I think that is correct.)

You really don't have to be religious to be good. You can even lead a moral life as a secular scientist.

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#21951 - 06/07/07 02:56 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
redewenur Offline
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Ellis: "You really don't have to be religious to be good. You can even lead a moral life as a secular scientist."

I would hasten to delete the word "even", and I will go further and suggest that statistically speaking, there's a much higher probability of moral bahaviour among the world's scientists than there is among the world's religious. Daily events and a study of the state of the world indicate that it's a fact.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21952 - 06/07/07 02:58 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Ellis]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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I've found the complete article for those interested:

http://www.ingenio.auckland.ac.nz/uoa/for/alumni/news/ingenio/a07/8/3.cfm

I agree with Ellis. We hear the argument continually from religious groups in NZ that the country is on a fast train to hell. We just need to turn back to God and everything will be OK. I suppose the idea is true to the extent that if we all believed the same things there would be less strife. But sadly I just can't bring myself to believe some aspects of religion.

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#21956 - 06/07/07 03:24 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
redewenur Offline
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Terry: "I suppose the idea is true to the extent that if we all believed the same things there would be less strife. But sadly I just can't bring myself to believe some aspects of religion."

The only way we are all going to believe the same thing is if we believe truth, and the only universally verifiable truth is scientific truth.

If people could simply acknowledge that, then whatever metaphysical and theological beliefs they may hold would probably be far more constructive.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#21958 - 06/07/07 03:30 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Good point Rede.

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#22158 - 06/17/07 03:03 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
RareBit Offline
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Registered: 06/17/07
Posts: 3
Loc: Wales
Science is not the answer.

It is done by scientists that are as fallible, arrogant, corrupt and childish as anyone else. Science is as likely to destroy us as Al-quiada.

THERE IS NO ANSWER.

Johnny.

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#22171 - 06/18/07 10:34 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: RareBit]
terrytnewzealand Offline
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Registered: 08/02/06
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RareBit, I'm sure you meant to write:

Science is as likely to destroy us as is religion."

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#22203 - 06/20/07 02:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
Ellis Offline
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Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
Fanatics of either religioius or scientific persuasion are likely to kill us. Science will often pursue research which produces ethical problems and religion can hinder research by imposing their own religious views on the general public. In fact, given the mess we are in, we must look to science for our future survival, and religion for ....; well I can't think of anything, but for some people religion may help regulate their more anti-social behaviour, though personally I doubt it. However it is the dogmatic (great word rede) fanatics of any points of view that cause problems I feel.

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