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Can Science & Spirituality go together?
Posted: 29 August 2007 01:22 AM   [ Ignore ]
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From replies received to my previous posts, it seems that the so-called ‘scientists’ here ridicule and reject any idea or mention of Spiritual experience.  However, I wonder what these people think about men such as Albert Einstein, or Carl Jung?  Ii it not possible to be both Spiritual/Religious and Scientific?

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Posted: 29 August 2007 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Solid scientists with good judgment don’t ridicule experience, a component of which is what many people call spirituality. Radical materialists ridicule it, but the dispositive answer to that is that no one can live as a radical materialist. The trick is to recognize that the two camps are talking about two different things: experience qua experience, versus the physical processes behind it; that doesn’t imply dualism, but only recognizes that experiences are—- well, they’re experienced.

All experience is a product of the organic brain, which processes all the information that we call experience; however, the experience is meaningful/valuable to us not because it fires a set of neutrons, which activate hormones, etc. That’s the physical process, but the experience is meaningful/valuable most immediately on its own terms. Query: if we used medicine and biology to set off the same chemical reactions as are triggered by certain experiences, would those experiences be as lasting and as meaningful?

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Posted: 29 August 2007 08:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Carl Jung and Albert Einstein were not religious in the way you are implying.  They looked at nature with awe and wonder, but were at a lose for words, but neither of them were religious men.

“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being
systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but
have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the
unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
~ Albert Einstein, 1954, from “Albert Einstein: The Human Side”, edited by Helen Dukas and
Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University Press

When Einstein spoke of God, he was not talking about any particular religion’s god, but rather the cosmos and the awe and wonder it triggers.

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Mriana
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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I don’t know about Jung, I was never a big fan of his writings, but Mriana is right about Einstein. To Einstein being spiritual meant to be able to wonder. As such, these two, being able to wonder (or spirituality if you wish) and science, do indeed go together.

[ Edited: 29 August 2007 12:05 PM by George ]
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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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You can add Carl Sagan to that list.  Sure spirituality and science can go together, as long as you don’t limit “spiritual” to beliefs in the supernatural.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Check out Spirituality for the Skeptic by Robert Solomon, or Druyan on this point, or even Dawkins, who talks about spirituality, making sure he doesnt mean anything supernatural but rather Spinozist when he does.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Yes, certainly Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, are all scientifically minded people or scientists who are interested in a naturalized spirituality.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 11:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’ll join the chorus. As long as “spiritual” isn’t taken to mean litearally “non-physical in ultimate origin” I see no problem.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Question: Can Science & Spirituality go together?

Answer: Only if they are still in grammar school and refer to it as “going together.”

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Posted: 29 August 2007 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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But how will they raise the kids? wink

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Posted: 29 August 2007 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I doubt that things that far apart can even have hybrids.  And which one is the top and which the bottom?  LOL

My problem with the word “spritual” is that it implies something non-material, e.g., soul, or of the metaphysical or supernatural.

I’m quite happy with “awe” but “spritual” always turns me off.

Occam

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Posted: 29 August 2007 08:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Spirituality, when it is examined through the lens of reason, is nothing more than another part of the human experience, quantifiable and finite and therefore open to understanding. So long as spirituality does not pretend to be something it isn’t, there’s no reason science cannot explain it, understand it, and enhance it.

The spiritual experience of sitting on a cold, rocky beach and listening to the tide come in and out for a day is not something that requires supernatural explanation - it is a product of the human brain and the experiences of the one doing the sitting. Neuroscience has not advanced to the point of utterly explaining cognition, but to say that it *cannot* is as blind as saying that a thing is true because a cobbled-together work of ancient myth says it is.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I guess it’s in the way “spiritual” is define. I’ve had a hard time with using the term “spiritual”, mainly because it has such a clear generally understood meaning.

Carl Sagan in The Demon Haunted World wrote: “Spirit” comes from the Latin word “to breathe.” What we breathe is air, which is certainly matter, however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication in the word “spiritual” that we are talking of anything other than matter or anything outside the realm of science. On occasion, I will feel free to use the word. Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality.” [pg. 29]

Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael Shermer and even Sam Harris (there’s others also, it was talked about a bit in the Beyond Belief conference) all seem to share Carl’s view.

Michael Shermer set out to define “spiritual” and “soul” in his work, The Soul of Science. A nice quote from that work I think: “Through natural evolution and man-made culture, we have inherited the mantle of life’s caretaker on earth. Rather than crushing our spirits, the realization that we exist together for a narrow slice of time and space elevates us to a higher plane of humanity and humility: a proud, albeit passing, act in the drama of the cosmos.”

http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/40803/page/1  - the entire piece by Michael that was also made into a short book by the same title.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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E.L.L, I think it depends which definition we assign to the word.  My dictionary lists six definitions.  The second one is: of the intellect, but the other five all have to do with religion or soul or metaphysics.  I think you are choosing that second definition, and that’s OK, but because most people think of one of the other five I avoid using that word.

Occam

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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Occam - 29 August 2007 09:13 PM

E.L.L, I think it depends which definition we assign to the word.  My dictionary lists six definitions.  The second one is: of the intellect, but the other five all have to do with religion or soul or metaphysics.  I think you are choosing that second definition, and that’s OK, but because most people think of one of the other five I avoid using that word.

Occam

I’m afraid I don’t see what you’re referring to, precisely. Which word is it that we’re dealing with here? I don’t mean to be obtuse, but I don’t want to respond to something that isn’t what you’re talking about, either.

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Posted: 29 August 2007 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Spiritual or spirituality.

Occam

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