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Science as religion (Merged)
Posted: 30 October 2010 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Gnostikosis - 30 October 2010 11:24 AM
GdB - 29 October 2010 02:04 AM

Spirituality is a way to relate to what you understand, as well to what you not understand, i.e. mystery. It has not directly to do with what is ‘out there’, or you think is ‘out there’. Spirituality exists in all world views, theistic, deistic or atheist. Mystery surely is a drive to understand, but has nothing to do with spirituality per se.

GdB

Sure, but then how does spirituality relate to science per se?

When it leads to the concept of a dimension with a different event horizon where particles with negative mass and traveling at speeds greater than light such as Tachyons, Bosons are present. They cannot exist in a SOL universe and vice versa.
The Adam and Eve of a different dimension, with an event horizon different from our physical knowledge and experience… grin
and another, and another, ........ surprised
That kind of metaphysical imagination and elegance could be considered spiritual.

[ Edited: 31 October 2010 03:19 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 31 October 2010 09:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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It is curious what can be meant by that.

I suppose this story might be interpreted that way since in some ways people are willing to kill and die for it.

The Year When Stardust Fell, by Raymond F. Jones
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33660/33660-h/33660-h.htm

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Posted: 31 October 2010 06:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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I think the core of scientism is the mistaken belief that science is part of the foundation when it is really a structure (one of many) built on the foundation. The foundation is ordinary evidence-based reasoning.
Examples of scientism:
1) Appealing to neuroscience in larger questions of what is true or false, e.g. thinking neuroscience can shed doubt on the validity of religious experience.
2) Thinking questions of morality can be decided by science.
3) Thinking scientific-flavored metaphysics is more valid than other types, e.g. believing in philosophical materialism, or thinking quantum-mechanical uncertainty has some connection to free will.

I’m not sure how this fits in to your 4 categories. Even sophisticated scientists adopt some of the scientistic views I just listed. They think they are being critical and scientific but really they are taking part of the current body of scientific knowledge and treating it as part of the foundation of all knowledge.

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Posted: 31 October 2010 08:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Hilbert - 31 October 2010 06:48 PM

I think the core of scientism is the mistaken belief that science is part of the foundation when it is really a structure (one of many) built on the foundation. The foundation is ordinary evidence-based reasoning.

this seems like a non sequitur - following your sentence I would think the “foundation” is the real physical world we are trying to comprehend.

Sort of like the map not being the same as the territory.

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Posted: 31 October 2010 08:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Or treating it correctly as the foundation of human knowledge for ordinary evidence-based reasoning.

[ Edited: 31 October 2010 08:44 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 01 November 2010 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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citizenschallenge.pm - 31 October 2010 08:41 PM

the “foundation” is the real physical world we are trying to comprehend.

Sort of like the map not being the same as the territory.

Reality is the territory.  Now is science the map or is science the process of cartography?

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Posted: 01 November 2010 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 67 ]
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Gnostikosis - 30 October 2010 11:24 AM
GdB - 29 October 2010 02:04 AM

Spirituality is a way to relate to what you understand, as well to what you not understand, i.e. mystery. It has not directly to do with what is ‘out there’, or you think is ‘out there’. Spirituality exists in all world views, theistic, deistic or atheist. Mystery surely is a drive to understand, but has nothing to do with spirituality per se.

GdB

Sure, but then how does spirituality relate to science per se?

It does not really, except that as a scientist that you accept that there is something out there that decides your ideas are true or not. Truth is not proclaimed by priests, but discovered by scientists.

It is different when you see spirituality in the context of what is discovered by science:  that we are very, very contingent and tiny creatures in a gigantic universe, and that we are created by it, will be destroyed by it, and are not even independent ‘soully’ entities in it. If this insights does not make one silent and spiritual what does? Believing in a supernatural (omninarcistic*) being, or proclaiming that there are still many mysteries waiting to be discovered what they really are?

If you see what I mean.

GdB

* Thanks for this word, DarronS!

[ Edited: 01 November 2010 07:25 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 01 November 2010 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 68 ]
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Hilbert - 31 October 2010 06:48 PM

3) Thinking scientific-flavored metaphysics is more valid than other types
...
I’m not sure how this fits in to your 4 categories. Even sophisticated scientists adopt some of the scientistic views I just listed. They think they are being critical and scientific but really they are taking part of the current body of scientific knowledge and treating it as part of the foundation of all knowledge.

Yes, that seems a category in its own. Common with category 1 is the non-understanding of what science really is. It is more ‘freewheeling’ on basis of (half understood) scientific results, but seems to give meaning to life, and has a religious function in this way. Many of those people say something like ‘is it not allowed to make hypothesis?’ They often do not realise that an expert might immediately show why the hypothesis is wrong, or that it lacks empirical content. Thanks, I will officially add it to my ‘science misconcepts’!

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Posted: 01 November 2010 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 69 ]
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psikeyhackr - 01 November 2010 06:01 AM

Reality is the territory.  Now is science the map or is science the process of cartography?

Both. What would be a cartographic institute without publishing maps? What would be a cartographic institute without keeping the maps up-to-date?

Science is never ready.

GdB

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Posted: 01 November 2010 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 70 ]
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Hilbert - 31 October 2010 06:48 PM

I think the core of scientism is the mistaken belief that science is part of the foundation when it is really a structure (one of many) built on the foundation. The foundation is ordinary evidence-based reasoning.
Examples of scientism:
1) Appealing to neuroscience in larger questions of what is true or false, e.g. thinking neuroscience can shed doubt on the validity of religious experience.

Why wouldn’t it? If near death experiences are consistent with what happens when the brain is starved of oxygen, does this not shed light on their validity as evidence? Further, lets be blunt here, as a person from the third world I have to ask what about cases of witchcraft? Surely you don’t think an epistimology that holds a person to be haunted by evil spirits is as valid as say, diagnosing that same person with epilepsy?

This is part of the problem I have with people who wax poetic about “religious experience”, that phrase covers a lot of ground and in a lot of cases neuroscience would explain it just fine.

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Posted: 01 November 2010 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 71 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 07:38 AM

Why wouldn’t it? If near death experiences are consistent with what happens when the brain is starved of oxygen, does this not shed light on their validity as evidence?

As evidence for what? Living after death? Of course not. For the opposite? Of course not. As evidence for people having this experience? Yeah, I think it does.

When neurology discovers how religious experiences arise in the brain, this does not say anything about the truth or falsity of the contents of the religious experience. With the same reasoning you could say neurologists understand mathematics because they understand how mathematics arises in the brain of a mathematician. Neurologists can explain (or discover) how the brain works. But about the contents of what the brain produces one needs independent sources to decide if these are true or not. Believing neurologists can do without, is a form of scientism.

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Posted: 01 November 2010 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 72 ]
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GdB - 01 November 2010 08:23 AM
Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 07:38 AM

Why wouldn’t it? If near death experiences are consistent with what happens when the brain is starved of oxygen, does this not shed light on their validity as evidence?

As evidence for what? Living after death? Of course not. For the opposite? Of course not. As evidence for people having this experience? Yeah, I think it does.

When neurology discovers how religious experiences arise in the brain, this does not say anything about the truth or falsity of the contents of the religious experience. With the same reasoning you could say neurologists understand mathematics because they understand how mathematics arises in the brain of a mathematician. Neurologists can explain (or discover) how the brain works. But about the contents of what the brain produces one needs independent sources to decide if these are true or not. Believing neurologists can do without, is a form of scientism.

GdB

It is more like saying if you take funny pills, and they give you funny visions, and nobody else can see those visions, chances are its the pills. If in your near death experience your brain is starved of oxygen and you see a light, it is likely the lack of oxygen rather than an actual light.

And if you are thrashing around on the floor looking demon possessed it suddenly makes a lot more sense if you have epilepsy, as opposed to an actual demon.

Is that scientism suddenly? Or do you think that given that we can’t judge the experience one way or the other, the local unpopular old lady needs a petrol bomb through her window?

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Posted: 01 November 2010 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 73 ]
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Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 08:44 AM

It is more like saying if you take funny pills, and they give you funny visions, and nobody else can see those visions, chances are its the pills. If in your near death experience your brain is starved of oxygen and you see a light, it is likely the lack of oxygen rather than an actual light.

And if you are thrashing around on the floor looking demon possessed it suddenly makes a lot more sense if you have epilepsy, as opposed to an actual demon.

Is that scientism suddenly? Or do you think that given that we can’t judge the experience one way or the other, the local unpopular old lady needs a petrol bomb through her window?

If there is no independent proof of demons, then of course, you are correct. But to give a simple example, if I am high, hear a piece of music I know already, and then hear things in it i did not hear before, and afterwards verify that and hear this again not being high, I can’t say ‘it was just the marijuana’.

The ‘hard nut to crack’ with NDE’s is that people have tunnel experiences quite often, and feel that they are separated from their bodies. As a scientific explanation it is not enough to say ‘oh, it is just lack of oxygen’. It needs an explanation what happens in the brain, to understand why they have these visions. Every time you here a scientist say ‘it is just ...’ you can be sure he leaves something out, something he does not understand, especially ‘it is just an illusion’. It is a short cut for ‘we do not understand, but I am sure, it is not…’.

We must accept that we must act on basis of incomplete information and knowledge. That does not mean not to act, but to be open for the possibility that we err. It is scientism when we think we know everything already, i.e. to have too much faith in non-empirical (or not yet discovered) extensions of science.

About witchcraft: I think we know enough of physics, medicine, psychology and sociology to know that we do not need demons to explain why somebody is crawling on the floor.

I maybe just as skeptical as you are, but that does not justify believe in everything that scientists say ‘on sundays’.

GdB

[ Edited: 01 November 2010 10:17 AM by GdB ]
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Posted: 01 November 2010 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 74 ]
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GdB - 01 November 2010 10:07 AM
Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 08:44 AM

It is more like saying if you take funny pills, and they give you funny visions, and nobody else can see those visions, chances are its the pills. If in your near death experience your brain is starved of oxygen and you see a light, it is likely the lack of oxygen rather than an actual light.

And if you are thrashing around on the floor looking demon possessed it suddenly makes a lot more sense if you have epilepsy, as opposed to an actual demon.

Is that scientism suddenly? Or do you think that given that we can’t judge the experience one way or the other, the local unpopular old lady needs a petrol bomb through her window?

If there is no independent proof of demons, then of course, you are correct. But to give a simple example, if I am high, hear a piece of music I know already, and then hear things in it i did not hear before, and afterwards verify that and hear this again not being high, I can’t say ‘it was just the marijuana’.

The ‘hard nut to crack’ with NDE’s is that people have tunnel experiences quite often, and feel that they are separated from their bodies. As a scientific explanation it is not enough to say ‘oh, it is just lack of oxygen’. It needs an explanation what happens in the brain, to understand why they have these visions. Every time you here a scientist say ‘it is just ...’ you can be sure he leaves something out, something he does not understand, especially ‘it is just an illusion’. It is a short cut for ‘we do not understand, but I am sure, it is not…’.

We must accept that we must act on basis of incomplete information and knowledge. That does not mean not to act, but to be open for the possibility that we err. It is scientism when we think we know everything already, i.e. to have too much faith in non-empirical (or not yet discovered) extensions of science.

About witchcraft: I think we know enough of physics, medicine, psychology and sociology to know that we do not need demons to explain why somebody is crawling on the floor.

I maybe just as skeptical as you are, but that does not justify believe in everything that scientists say ‘on sundays’.

GdB

Yes, but to do that you would turn to neuroscience and the various methods we bundle under the term science. Sure we could discover something more that the current state of neuroscience doesn’t account for, but that would probably get bundled under neuroscience as it expands.

I think one of the problems is science isn’t a static thing - it is a collection of methods we find reliable. Even the scientific method is open to amendments and improvements if they can show their stuff.

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Posted: 01 November 2010 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 75 ]
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GdB - 01 November 2010 08:23 AM

When neurology discovers how religious experiences arise in the brain, this does not say anything about the truth or falsity of the contents of the religious experience. With the same reasoning you could say neurologists understand mathematics because they understand how mathematics arises in the brain of a mathematician. Neurologists can explain (or discover) how the brain works. But about the contents of what the brain produces one needs independent sources to decide if these are true or not. Believing neurologists can do without, is a form of scientism.
...
It is scientism when we think we know everything already, i.e. to have too much faith in non-empirical (or not yet discovered) extensions of science.

Yes, this is exactly what I meant.

Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 01:59 PM

Yes, but to do that you would turn to neuroscience and the various methods we bundle under the term science. Sure we could discover something more that the current state of neuroscience doesn’t account for, but that would probably get bundled under neuroscience as it expands.

I can’t see what neuroscience can contribute to questions of the validity of claims of religious experience. Knowing that they are related to temporal lobe activity or whatever is not much help. Being able to induce those feelings by stimulating the brain doesn’t tell you anything. Perhaps stimulating the brain can make me think I smell burning rubber, but that doesn’t mean every time I smelt burning rubber it was an illusion.

I think it’s a mistake to invoke science in these debates. We have to emphasize that what religious belief conflicts with is not a special set of practices and knowledge done by a small elite (“science”). Rather, what religious belief conflicts with is the most basic and universally shared standards for acquiring reliable knowledge: the same methods that everyone uses, not just scientists, to decide what is true and what isn’t.

Scientific knowledge may conflict with religion, but the important thing to stress is that knowledge was acquired by the universally accepted method of empirical evidence. It is vital not to let the method of science seem to be a special practice that one could opt out of.
I suggest that one should almost never use the phrase “the scientific method”.

Bruce Gorton - 01 November 2010 01:59 PM

I think one of the problems is science isn’t a static thing - it is a collection of methods we find reliable. Even the scientific method is open to amendments and improvements if they can show their stuff.

Don’t we already know the valid methods for finding the truth? We aren’t going to find a new one: what method would we use for deciding its validity? Science is a set of practices that use the only valid method we know: evidence.

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