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#24710 - 01/29/08 02:56 AM Science Means Freedom
Mike Kremer Offline

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Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK

I have come to realise that Science means Freedom for people.
In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have.
Any possibility of a debate on this? If no, I'll assume its true.
_________________________
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.
"You will never find a real Human being - Even in a mirror." ....Mike Kremer.



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#24720 - 01/29/08 06:50 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Mike Kremer]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer

I have come to realise that Science means Freedom for people.
In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have.
Any possibility of a debate on this? If no, I'll assume its true.

That's nicely provocative smile

You could apply reason with reference to wherewithal rather than freedom, e.g:

1) Higher education leads to better science
2) Affluence permits higher education
3) Democracies are affluent
4) Democracies have better science

However, there's certainly more to it. Culture has a role - there's currently some debate on the net regarding the relatively low level of scientific output from Islamic nations during the past few hundred years:

A Lecture by Seyyid Hossein Nasr
http://web.mit.edu/mitmsa/www/NewSite/libstuff/nasr/nasrspeech1.html
- "Many people feel that in fact there is no such thing as the Islamic problem of science..."
- "[They felt] that there was something wrong with Christianity [as] it buckled under the pressures of modern science and rationalism in the nineteenth century, and this would not happen to Islam."

And -

Science and Islam in Conflict
http://discovermagazine.com/2007/jul/science-and-islam
"All over the world, no matter what the cultural or language differences, science is more or less guided by scientific principles—except in many Islamic countries, where it is guided by the Koran. This is the ultimate story about science and religion."

So there are at least three factors to consider:

Wealth
Education
Culture/Religion

I'm inclined to think the nations 'embracing science' most fully are those rich nations in which post-religious culture is most in evidence, such as in Europe, and where religion appears to represent no obstacle - witness the surge of progress in India and China.

I also think that the three aforementioned factors (wealth, education, culture/religion) are all important to the development of a society that is both free and scientific.

So, I would modify your observation and suggest that -
conditions for free society = conditions for science.


Edited by redewenur (01/29/08 09:48 PM)

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#24722 - 01/29/08 08:53 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
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Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...
Certainly there is a relationship. I don't know that it is so direct. I'm thinking mainly of the book "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations," by Landes. This is a different view of the history of societies than put forward by Diamond.

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#24723 - 01/29/08 10:30 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Landes evidently stresses the significance of cultural traits in the transition to industrialisation and the consequent growth of wealth and power - so there, again, are the two factors of culture and wealth. The third, education, is obligatory. But I would be interested to know how Landes sees the relationship between freedom (or liberty) and science. Does he see them both, as I do, as arising concurrently as products of the same set of conditions?

_______________

TFF, thanks for mentioning Landes.

I've just read Chapter 1 of The Wealth and Poverty of Nations at

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0393318885/ref=sib_dp_pop_ex?ie=UTF8&p=S00R#reader-link

Having come from England to live in Thailand twelve years ago, I've had plenty of time to consider the effects of climate on human activity. What I just read, I can endorse 100%. Landes retraces my thoughts and observations exactly.

I suspect, from what I’ve read so far, that Diamond carries the climate argument too far. However…

J.M. Blaut has said (quote from Landes’ book) that it has become clear "from many sources of evidence including physiological studies, that human bodies of all sorts can labour as effectively in the tropics as elsewhere if the bodies in question have had time to adjust to tropical conditions".

That, I most emphatically refute. Indigenous people are certainly better adapted to their climate than those from cooler regions, but they themselves are nonetheless hampered in their daily activities. Wisdom and prudence dictate that vigorous activity is much less common than in temperate climes. I feel quite certain that mental vigour is likewise affected. As Landes says, "The world has never been a level playing field".

I think it very likely that climate is yet another factor affecting a nation's development, and hence it's evolution in terms of both liberty (or, as Mike put it, Democratic Freedom) and science.


Edited by redewenur (01/30/08 12:43 AM)

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#24732 - 01/31/08 06:29 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer

I have come to realise that Science means Freedom for people.
In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have.
Any possibility of a debate on this? If no, I'll assume its true.

That's nicely provocative smile
...........>...................................................
...........................>

So there are at least three factors to consider:

Wealth
Education
Culture/Religion

I'm inclined to think the nations 'embracing science' most fully are those rich nations in which post-religious culture is most in evidence, such as in Europe, and where religion appears to represent no obstacle - witness the surge of progress in India and China.

I also think that the three aforementioned factors (wealth, education, culture/religion) are all important to the development of a society that is both free and scientific.

So, I would modify your observation and suggest that -
conditions for free society = conditions for science.


Mike Kremer 2 redewenur

Yes I'll endorse that last observation of yours.

Plus science has the unique added attribute of giving all of us the added freedom of well being.
For whenever scientific announcement is made, we all of feel content in the knowledege that mankind is still walking the right path into the future.

I'm not so sure about religion, it should allow us to walk along the path of righteousness. But distractions make religions dawdle and slow.
_________________________
.

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



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#24735 - 01/31/08 11:32 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Mike Kremer]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: Mike Kremer

Originally Posted By: redewenur
So, I would modify your observation and suggest that -
conditions for free society = conditions for science.

Mike Kremer 2 redewenur

Yes I'll endorse that last observation of yours.
...
I'm not so sure about religion...

Religion does not belong to the set of conditions for a free society and for science.
Religion is a condition that manifestly opposes both freedom and science.

I won't waste forum bytes going into that; Sam Harris, Daniel Dennet, Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and many others are masters of the subject.
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#24738 - 01/31/08 04:36 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
TheFallibleFiend Offline
Megastar

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 1940
Loc: http://thefalliblefiend.blogsp...

"Religion does not belong to the set of conditions for a free society and for science."

I agree.

"Religion is a condition that manifestly opposes both freedom and science."

I'm not sure I agree with this, regardless of who maintains it.

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#24742 - 01/31/08 06:14 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: TheFallibleFiend]
redewenur Offline
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Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
TFF: "I'm not sure I agree with this, regardless of who maintains it."

I'm sure you realise that I mention the above people not in an attempt to lend weight to my personal views, but because their well publicized and eloquent presentations express, for the most part, my own evaluation of the evidence.

It's good to know that you would not agree with such propositions simply because specific others maintain them.

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#24823 - 02/12/08 03:26 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
I just had to come back to this interesting topic with a few words from Lawrance Krauss. What he is saying is that information censorship and the promotion of ignorance is the greatest threat to our freedom.

It underscores my opinion that "Religion is a condition that manifestly opposes both freedom and science."

http://edge.org/3rd_culture/krauss06/krauss06.1_index.html

"What really upset me and really offends me about these people is that they would rather children be ignorant than be exposed to knowledge that might — quote unquote might — weaken their faith. And that attitude of course is the same with the Taliban.

I do believe the greatest threat to our freedom, in a democracy or not in a democracy, is sort of the censorship that controls information. And knowledge, one way or another, breeds freedom. And so for me, to actively promote ignorance is the worst thing you can do."

Which, in similar words, is what Mike said at the outset:

"In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have."
_________________________
"Time is what prevents everything from happening at once" - John Wheeler

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#25826 - 04/29/08 09:04 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
Anonymous
Unregistered



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#25831 - 04/30/08 12:34 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Anonymous]
Amaranth Rose II Offline

Superstar

Registered: 12/16/06
Posts: 962
Loc: Southeast Nebraska, USA
Anonymous, your post does not seem to have anything to do with the topic. It is a web page with many links. Did you mean to indicate one specifically? If so, be specific. Otherwise you are spamming and we won't have that.

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


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#25834 - 04/30/08 03:09 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Amaranth Rose II]
odin1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 136
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Hello Mike,

I would like to respond to your original question. You said:

"I have come to realise that Science means Freedom for people.
In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have".

This has not always been the case. Case in fact was Nazi Germany. While the same can be said for Stalin's Russia, and even later. While I follow what you are saying and I agree, knowledge is the light that illuminates the world, but sometimes the wrong people get in charge, and do bad things with good minds.

Thomas Jefferson said and I will paraphrase "democracy cannot survive without morality". So, if science loses it's morality it will be hard for the democracy to flourish. In the past democracy has managed to overcome the Hitlers and Stalins, it is an on going struggle. Extremist in either direction, left or right can be the down fall of democracy and the science that so flouishes under that umbrella. We need to keep on constant check to be sure that the science is serving the people, instead of the people serving the science. And that my friend is where all the argument begins.

Best Regards,
odin1


_________________________
People will forgive you for anything -but being right !
odin1



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#25836 - 04/30/08 05:41 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: odin1]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Good point odin1. While you're waiting for Mike to log in, I'll add few thoughts.

The hole in your argument is that the Nazi regime (for example) seized the power, the economic base, and the science, none of which had evolved under that system. The same can be said of Stalin and the October Revolution. It's arguable that the USSR made significant scientific progress - and there were many great Soviet scientists - but I think it was not as significant as it could have been, given the population and natural resources. The catastrophic waste of a dismally inefficient economy and a vast mechanised army would hardly have occurred in a modern democratic political environment. The Soviet Union had a population similar to that of the United States, yet the overall development of science and technology in the latter was much greater. As much as we like to criticise the 'consumerism' that is part of democracies, it promotes technological development. The general public have sufficient wealth to buy the products resulting from scientific research, thus expanding the high tech industries and promoting further research and development.

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#25841 - 04/30/08 08:33 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Science and freedom? Let's use the plural, here, and speak of the sciences --that is, the hard and soft ones.

BACKING UP ODIN'S POINT
The sciences represent all the knowledge we have about our three-dimensional and measurable universe. They are nothing more or less than very valuable tools of the intellect to be used for good or evil.

THE SCIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND HUMANITY
I agree: When used by moral, ethical and loving people, the sciences can bring more and more joy and happiness and the liberty to be more and more humane human beings. When used by nations under the leadership of amoral tyrannical governments it can bring us nothing but misery.

Do I need to remind people that, in the 1930's and 1940's, the fascist and Nazi governments, which took us into two world wars, had some of the world's most brilliant scientists?

BTW, what are certain greedy corporations, with hundreds of scientists at their service, doing for the environment?

VERSE 13, GRAY'S ELEGY
I like the point Thomas Gray makes, about the need for knowledge, in his great poem:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

http://www.blupete.com/Literature/Poetry/Elegy.htm


Edited by Revlgking (04/30/08 08:36 PM)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#25846 - 04/30/08 11:05 PM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Revlgking]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Do I need to remind people that, in the 1930's and 1940's, the fascist and Nazi governments, which took us into two world wars, had some of the world's most brilliant scientists?

I doubt that you do; but those scientists were not a product of fascism - they had been trained in an infrastructure that pre-dated the brief rise of fascism. When Hitler took power, he inherited a Germany that had long since become the cultural and scientific centre of Europe. He and his regime merit no credit for the resources, intellectual or otherwise, at their disposal.

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#25857 - 05/01/08 01:18 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
Mike Kremer Offline

Megastar

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 1696
Loc: London UK

Expanding upon my original statement that:-
"I have come to realise that Science means Freedom for people.
In fact the more science a country embraces, the more Democratic Freedom their people seem to have".

It helps to look at my statement in the context that there are 6.5 billion people alive today. Science tells us that.

Everyone of us, without exception, wants to live a decent free and good life, in harmony with everyone else.
Thats a natural normal human attribute.
If you dont believe that, there is not much point in continuing.

In the Middle Ages we had religion, which offered that particular group a newer type of freedom. The certainty that by becoming a member and following its teachings, humanism, love with all, and for all, was the panacea of life, even after death. It was the Science of its day.
It might have worked, had not peoples with other beliefs came onto the scene.
Its the expansion of other beliefs that caused the problems for the Church.

odin1, mentions Nazi Germany and Stalin, as does Revlgking.
odin1, mentions that "the wrong people get in charge, and do bad things with good minds"

And thats where the Science of the masses, the outside majority of 6.5 Bil people comes in.
Nothing thats bad or hurtful for people can last forever.
Those that were under the Nazi boot, or Stalins Gulags, knew they were downtrodden, they hated their oppressors, they bided their time. They learnt thru the science of Radio about the freedom of those on the outside. You can't rule a down trodden country forever.

The Science of TV and satellites has allowed us to see and savour the freedom of all peoples wherever they might be
Religion has now become secondary to freedom, I mean real freedom as it should be.
Unfortunately religion was never able to detect the expansion of the bad, in far off areas. Much less do anything about them.

as Revlking said;- "When used by moral, ethical and loving people, the Sciences can bring more and more joy and happiness and the liberty to more and more humane human beings" ...Agreed.

Of course nothing is perfect, but Scientific knowledge today, does root out and discover the Hitlers and Stalins of today for all to see. I'm also thinking of those that have been tried at the World Court in the Hague, for crimes against humanity, and the gassing of villages elsewhere.

So todays Science is able to visually show everyone, the the good.
It also shows us the bad, luckily as I intimated above, the huge majority in our world want without exception to live a good and harmonious life with everyone else, (my 5th sentence above.)

I think somewhere in the Bible G-d said "Find me just ten good men and the world will be saved"
Today that equates to "Just ten good satellites can root out the evil men"

Hurrah for modern science in all its guises.
Have faith, ....One day it will mean health and happiness for all.You dont need an inquisition to believe that.



_________________________
.

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



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#25859 - 05/01/08 02:47 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
Revlgking Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/17/07
Posts: 2311
Loc: markham (Thornhill), Ontario, ...
Originally Posted By: redewenur
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Do I need to remind people that, in the 1930's and 1940's, the fascist and Nazi governments, which took us into two world wars, had some of the world's most brilliant scientists?

I doubt that you do; but those scientists were not a product of fascism...
Ready, you totally missed my point:
I made the point that science, as Einstein reminded us, without a moral and ethical religion--note that I did not say a "stupid and superstitious kind of religion"--is useless and without meaning. It is even dangerous and evil.

Science is a tool, which provides us with facts--often wrong ones, BTW--about physical nature, nothing more. Freedom comes from sources other than science.

BTW, MK acknowledges he got the point when he wrote:as Revlking said;- "When used by moral, ethical and loving people, the Sciences can bring more and more joy and happiness and the liberty to more and more humane human beings" ...Agreed. Thanks, MK.


Edited by Revlgking (05/01/08 03:00 AM)
_________________________
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org

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#25861 - 05/01/08 05:04 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: Revlgking]
redewenur Offline
Megastar

Registered: 02/14/07
Posts: 1840
Originally Posted By: Revlgking
Ready, you totally missed my point:
I made the point that science, as Einstein reminded us, without a moral and ethical religion--note that I did not say a "stupid and superstitious kind of religion"--is useless and without meaning.

Nevermind, Revlgking, at least Mike got your point.

In the context of the use of science, I think the word we're looking for is ethics rather than morality.

I would agree with Mike that an ethically good society is most likely to result in the ethical use of science. I would disagree with you that an ethically good society requires a religion. Furthermore, science does not require a religion in order to be useful and have meaning.

We are, of course, discussing the relationship between science and freedom.

Certainly, it's more than just a chicken and egg question as there are other factors that result in the coexistence science and freedom. Religion, however, is not one of those factors. As I said earlier, religion does not belong to the set of conditions for a free society and for science.

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#25864 - 05/01/08 11:43 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: redewenur]
big fat pig Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 97
science on its own(without new-research) is just 'canned' knowledge, and by having more knowledge at your disposal to make better judgments on reality, you actually start to have less freedom(of thought); philosophically speaking... but when people embrace science for the purpose of discovering new science, and can do so without social resistance, i think that this would be called true freedom.
_________________________
seize the day

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#25873 - 05/02/08 12:14 AM Re: Science Means Freedom [Re: big fat pig]
odin1 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 136
Loc: North Carolina, USA
Hello everyone,

to keep it simple, I would say science does have the potential to promote democracy provided -the society that nurchers it is "ethical or moral" whichever word you would rather use.

But, then an ethical and moral society could only be enhanced by it's science-the effect of science to a tyrannical regime would be only technical in nature.

A tyrannical regime would benefit from science ,I feel, what benefits the powers that be. It would more than likely depend on an outside-influence or intervention by an ethical or moral society to change to Democracy. It could change I guess on it's own by science, but it could take a lot of time,depending on conditons and influences surrounding the people in question.

Best regards,
odin1


Edited by odin1 (05/02/08 12:33 AM)
_________________________
People will forgive you for anything -but being right !
odin1



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