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Science, belief and education

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by TarmacSamurai, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. #1 TarmacSamurai, Jan 16, 2009
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  2. Nice.
     
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  3. #3 6ixxer, Jan 16, 2009
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  4. #4 waedwe, Jan 16, 2009
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  5. #5 zenali, Jan 16, 2009
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  6. It is very good. Not sure what it does with someone like me, who understands all those points, understands science, doesn't quibble with scientific theories... and yet still believes in God.

    It's a matter of domains - everything said there is true for things that can be tested by science. But not everything can be tested by science. Prove to me empirically that your partner loves you. You can't. There is lots of evidence to support the hypothesis, even right down to brain scans and brain chemistry, but love itself is not measurable.

    What worries me about many of the arguments here is scientism - if it cannot be measured, it is therefore not real or not important. But I'd argue that love is perhaps the most important thing in life, but yet is not susceptible to reductive empirical analysis.

    So I agree with everything in that presentation, but still argue that it is true but not complete - put it in legal language, and it's the truth and nothing but the truth, but it's not the whole truth.
     
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  7. ....yet.
    Give it time.
     
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  8. Heh, and you say you don't have faith in things without evidence. ;)
     
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  9. Then you really are the exact person that the video is talking about, even if you don't believe that you are.

    The video explained quite specifically that science is about defining reality through objective observable, measurable (and repeatable) procedure.

    Just because YOU believe in a deity does NOT mean that science rejects the existence of your deity. If it can be proven through scientific means that your deity exists through ratifiable scientific procedure, then science will accept that as fact. If you cannot prove it, and there is no supporting evidence to the contrary, then that does not mean that science rejects it at all, and this is exactly where false scientists overstep their bounds by claiming the non-existence of deities. People who declare such are not scientists at all.

    Your belief, or in scientific terms, your hypothesis is that there is a deity. You cannot prove it, and it cannot be disproven, hence science, true science that is, has nothing really to say about your hypothesis other than it's YOUR hypothesis.

    I thought that the video made that quite clear (without actually saying it specifically).

    Where science steps on religious toes is when various portions of religious texts makes declarations about phenomenon which are not supported by observable events or procedure. Human science, at present anyway, does not explicitly confirm nor deny the existence of deific beings so you may freely continue to be both a theologist and a scientist.
     
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  10. I guess it depends on how broadly you define 'reality'. I agree with everything you've said above, but what set me off I guess was some pretty broad statements about 'reality' in the video when what was really meant was physical reality.
     
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  11. It's not "faith" to think things can be understood if given sufficient time to study them. It's faith to think that they're too wonderous to understand and somehow different from any other biological/chemical process.
     
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  12. Aha! The good ol' argument from personal incredulity. :) I can't understand it, therefore nobody will ever be able to understand it.
     
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  13. Reality, in the scientific sense, is unbounded. Our present understanding of reality is primarily limited to physically observable and measurable phenomena, but only because we presently lack the tools with which to observe and measure meta-physical phenomena.

    I recall a statement by Asimov (I think) and it goes something like this: "Any technology that is sufficiently advanced that it cannot be explained by more primitive culture's tools and procedures is effectively indistinuishable from magic to the more primitive culture".

    If we took mobile phone technology back to Egyptian times who have no tools or ability or understanding of electromagnetism and radio waves, then those mobile phones will be effectively "magic" (or even of divine origin) to them until they develop the required science and understanding to explain what they're observing.

    The concept of deities is not really any different, well except for there being very few (if any) modern day observable religious phenomena to independently observe and study.
     
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  14. The phenomenon of religiousness is being studied though. Believe it or not, how religious you are has about the same degree of heritability as other personality traits.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070405170133.htm

    http://www.psych.umn.edu/people/faculty/bouchard.htm

    I think that in itself is pretty interesting...
     
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  15. Arthur C Clarke {/pedantic git}

    But yeah, at the edges it becomes a matter of whether one believes that there are some facets of existence that are in-principle not susceptible to scientific analysis or not. Both you and jd have expressed the faith that there are not - that in principle *everything* is analysable and explainable by science, we just needs the right tools and techniques. You may not accept it, but you are making a faith statement, since there is nothing empirical on which to base the statement that everything is empirical. ;)
     
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  16. It's a scientific theory that everything is eventually empirically quantifiable, and until such time that it is disproven, that will continue to be one of the fundamental tenets of scientific procedure.

    Getting to the nub of it now though, and what the video was talking about. If you wish to prove that scientific analysis is possibly invalid, then you had better bring some proof to the table that there are phenomena that exist which cannot (ever, not just currently at this point in time) be empirically studied.

    To make that call is an immensely biased leap of faith given the mountain of evidence that says to the contrary to date.
     
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  17. Yes there is - there is the evidence that it exists. And if something exists it can be studied, that's simply fact.
    The alternative, that although something is known to exist it is simply too wonderous to ever understand is to believe something in spite of the evidence - and that is faith.
     
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  18. Some things that don't exist can still be studied. There are plenty of mathematicians who work solely in the information domain, manipulating systems of rules to try to discover unknown properties that underlie those systems. Even if those rules are not physical, they can be modelled and studied.
     
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  19. Transhumanism might actually offer us the ability to understand more than we can right now - look at it this way; a dog can't understand a can opener because it doesn't have the right bits of brain. We can understand lots more than dogs, but our brains have a limited capacity too, there's things that are just too big to grasp with our current machinery, and there's problems that might require an understanding that our sensory inputs just can't give us.

    It's currently impossible to upgrade a brain - but we can upgrade computers, and computer processing power at the outside edges has absolutely exploded in the last 20 years. If we apply our limited intelligence in the right way, we should eventually get to a point where a computer is as good at understanding things as a human is - and from there, we can upgrade its memory and processing power and feed it whatever data it wants to apply superhuman levels of reason and rigor to.

    Whether it will be able to chuck wheelies and appreciate fart gags is another question.
     
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  20. I'd put money down for 'yes' to the wheelies. Not so sure about the fart gags...
     
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