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#21918 - 06/05/07 09:19 AM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: redewenur]
samwik Offline
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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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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Registered: 10/10/06
Posts: 1164
Loc: Colorado
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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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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

Superstar

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 962
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
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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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
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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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
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
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
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
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
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
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
Good point Rede.

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#22158 - 06/17/07 03:03 PM Re: Is Science the answer? [Re: terrytnewzealand]
RareBit Offline
Junior Member

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
Megastar

Registered: 08/02/06
Posts: 1031
Loc: Whangarei New Zealand
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
Megastar

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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