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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.


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"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
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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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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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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Registered: 01/17/07
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Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
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?



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

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#20965 - 04/26/07 09:45 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
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Loc: Coventry, England
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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Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 192
Loc: California
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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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
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)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#20978 - 04/27/07 08:27 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: Revlgking]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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)
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#20979 - 04/27/07 09:01 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
Blacknad Offline
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Registered: 10/05/05
Posts: 901
Loc: Coventry, England
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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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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Registered: 06/08/05
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Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
"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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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
_________________________
Pyrolysis creates reduced carbon! ...Time for the next step in our evolutionary symbiosis with fire.

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#21001 - 04/27/07 07:51 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: samwik]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...

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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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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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Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
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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Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
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.
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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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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Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
"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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