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The limits of science
#1
[Image: 15541398_1163511657031935_52561946090404...e=58E55C9A]

"Science is essential to addressing humanity's problems, but it cannot address the human root causes that lead to them.

We need to expose the false logic of our current systems and behaviours and create new ones; only spiritual and cultural transformations and new narratives, can deliver them."
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
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#2
(12-20-2016, 01:54 PM)X_4AD_84 Wrote: Don't confuse the limits of science with the limits of things like technology, and, the current version of market capitalism. Science is wonderful. A person who goes forth into the world in a scientifically minded way will experience an unending sense of wonder. Scientific training gives a person keen observational abilities, appreciation of nuances, and the joy of experiencing things like the ever changing face of nature, be it the evolving cosmos, the changing of the seasons or the endless wash of the waves of sensible weather. Ironically or perhaps not so ironically, going forth with a clean, unbiased scientific mind leads one, if one is really, truly, unabashedly unbiased, into the realm of spirituality.

I do concede that there are people with scientific training who are not thus - in such cases they are not fully developed enough to self correct for bias. Training in meditation can help resolve such challenges. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it's better to know and love science than not. In my life experience, scientific people have been those with the broadest most open perspectives, and those who are overly emotion or Id driven tend to be more annoying and worthy of my pity.

I agree with your point that training in unbiased observation can open one up to a genuine spirituality. Like science, spirituality also involves some degree of self-reliance in the realm of knowledge, rather than mere deference to traditional authority. If scientific people understand the limits of science itself, then they can enter the realm of spirituality, and still keep their scientific mind intact as well. A truly spiritual training can, in the same way, lead one to appreciate science. Ask the Dalai Lama. There is nothing more keenly-observational than meditation and spiritual seeking. It is this spiritual training and quest that controls reactive emotions, more than science and reason do. 

If science and scientists do not appreciate self-observation, and the fact that it leads to universal knowledge, then they can and often become too limited and dogmatic, failing to appreciate, as this quote suggests, what really moves society and the cosmos. If scientists do appreciate the place of spirit and enlightened religion, then science is a necessary part of the knowledge we need to understand and manage our affairs. The quest for human knowledge has involved a degree of hubris, that we can fit things into the little boxes we make, and what is needed instead is to be awestruck before the vast and unfathomable reality of "God" and the universe. The connection between science and technology is very strong, and often leads to the idolatry that says that the universe can be explained on the model of the machines we make. It can't be.

Science does not really open people up to wonder, if it leads to the notion that science can fully explain life and the cosmos. Wonder is only possible if we realize that life and reality are an ultimate mystery to human rational knowledge, and that what it calls miracles do in fact not only happen, but that every event and every moment is a miracle beyond explanation. Then one also finds "the peace that passes understanding." The inherent and wonderful change and movement you mention in Nature is indeed a clue that a science that tries to pin things down to static ideas and concepts, ultimately does indeed reveal uncertainty-- which science itself now confirms.

Traditional religion is often dogmatic and narrowing, especially the kind of fundamentalism that now prevails in Red America. Traditional science on the other hand can also be dogmatic and narrowing, failing to keep a proper perspective on the value of the human and spiritual element. So, proper respect for and use of all kinds of knowledge is the best path.

I wonder if, beyond today's dogmatic and ruthless battle of traditional ideologies, that ultimately the reconciliation between today's red and blue (or right and left) cultures involves recognizing the place of both spirit and science.

I am glad for an image that can open up this conversation here again Smile
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply
#3
(12-20-2016, 02:22 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: [Image: 15541398_1163511657031935_52561946090404...e=58E55C9A]

"Science is essential to addressing humanity's problems, but it cannot address the human root causes that lead to them.

We need to expose the false logic of our current systems and behaviours and create new ones; only spiritual and cultural transformations and new narratives, can deliver them."

This view is understandable, but does not take into consideration recent advances in the intersection between the biological and social sciences, to wit, cultural evolution. The change the scientist despairs of is caused by cultural evolution, which takes time.  What the climate scientist find perplexing is given that global warming was established as reality almost fifty years ago why do so many still deny it?  They might see this in context if they noted than the fact that cigarettes cause cancer was established 80 years ago and yet folks still smoke.

The reason is simple.  The word that cigarettes cause cancer did not get out officially until 30 years after the discovery.   I was a kid in the 1970's.  All my friends smoked.  So did I when I was 15--but I quit before I got hooked.  We actually called them cancer sticks back then so you can't say we didn't know the danger, but teenagers are dumb.  I had no excuse my dad quit cold turkey when the warnings came our and my mom tapered off and smoking her last cigarette on Super Bowl 1970. My brothers both smoked too, but since have quit. By the 1990's young people had picked up on the idea that smoking was for losers.  My little brother in the Big Brother Program had one requirement for a Big, that he not smoke.  And then when he was 18 he fucking took up smoking, because he felt his life wasn't working and that he was sort of a loser so he might as well smoke.  With great effort he gave up seven years ago when his first child was born (I was so proud of him).  Today cigarette smoking is banned in most public spaces in many states.  Conservatives no longer smoke and so do not defend smoker's rights.  It is accepted that smoking is foolish, but that teens are often foolish.  Almost everybody finds efforts to get kids not to smoke are OK.

For climate change it took 20 years for the word to get out. It took another 15 to convince me, and I m a liberal. Today we are with climate change where we were with cigarettes in the mid-1990's.  Conservatives were still defending tobacco then.  You could still smoke in bars and restaurants, but big corporations were making it harder to do so at work.  That is, corporate America has realized climate change is real, but the (small business)man in the street isn't on board yet. In ten years this will start to change if the analogy holds.
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#4
(12-20-2016, 01:54 PM)X_4AD_84 Wrote: Don't confuse the limits of science with the limits of things like technology, and, the current version of market capitalism. Science is wonderful. A person who goes forth into the world in a scientifically minded way will experience an unending sense of wonder. Scientific training gives a person keen observational abilities, appreciation of nuances, and the joy of experiencing things like the ever changing face of nature, be it the evolving cosmos, the changing of the seasons or the endless wash of the waves of sensible weather. Ironically or perhaps not so ironically, going forth with a clean, unbiased scientific mind leads one, if one is really, truly, unabashedly unbiased, into the realm of spirituality.

I do concede that there are people with scientific training who are not thus - in such cases they are not fully developed enough to self correct for bias. Training in meditation can help resolve such challenges. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it's better to know and love science than not. In my life experience, scientific people have been those with the broadest most open perspectives, and those who are overly emotion or Id driven tend to be more annoying and worthy of my pity.

I like this.  What is your education/professional background?
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#5
(12-20-2016, 02:41 PM)Mikebert Wrote:
(12-20-2016, 02:22 AM)Eric the Green Wrote: [Image: 15541398_1163511657031935_52561946090404...e=58E55C9A]

"Science is essential to addressing humanity's problems, but it cannot address the human root causes that lead to them.

We need to expose the false logic of our current systems and behaviours and create new ones; only spiritual and cultural transformations and new narratives, can deliver them."

This view is understandable, but does not take into consideration recent advances in the intersection between the biological and social sciences, to wit, cultural evolution. The change the scientist despairs of is caused by cultural evolution, which takes time.  What the climate scientist find perplexing is given that global warming was established as reality almost fifty years ago why do so many still deny it?  They might see this in context if they noted than the fact that cigarettes cause cancer was established 80 years ago and yet folks still smoke.

The reason is simple.  The word that cigarettes cause cancer did not get out officially until 30 years after the discovery.   I was a kid in the 1970's.  All my friends smoked.  So did I when I was 15--but I quit before I got hooked.  We actually called them cancer sticks back then so you can't say we didn't know the danger, but teenagers are dumb.  I had no excuse my dad quit cold turkey when the warnings came our and my mom tapered off and smoking her last cigarette on Super Bowl 1970. My brothers both smoked too, but since have quit. By the 1990's young people had picked up on the idea that smoking was for losers.  My little brother in the Big Brother Program had one requirement for a Big, that he not smoke.  And then when he was 18 he fucking took up smoking, because he felt his life wasn't working and that he was sort of a loser so he might as well smoke.  With great effort he gave up seven years ago when his first child was born (I was so proud of him).  Today cigarette smoking is banned in most public spaces in many states.  Conservatives no longer smoke and so do not defend smoker's rights.  It is accepted that smoking is foolish, but that teens are often foolish.  Almost everybody finds efforts to get kids not to smoke are OK.

For climate change it took 20 years for the word to get out. It took another 15 to convince me, and I m a liberal. Today we are with climate change where we were with cigarettes in the mid-1990's.  Conservatives were still defending tobacco then.  You could still smoke in bars and restaurants, but big corporations were making it harder to do so at work.  That is, corporate America has realized climate change is real, but the (small business)man in the street isn't on board yet. In ten years this will start to change if the analogy holds.

I think those are good points. I know it took me zero time to be convinced of those things, once told of them, but that might not mean anything. The point the image's author raises goes deeper, though. Public attitudes may not be enough; the greed and selfishness of the corporate masters and their political representatives, may not yield to dissemination of facts. But I concede the point that it might eventually shift the balance of power, although it takes too long to avoid needless deaths and suffering. And even so, the "id" and the materialism that motivates the Trumps and Rex Tillersons and the other alligators in the swamp will still exist and cause other problems down the road. Some people are moved to change this course by a spiritual or religious transformation. It plays a role too.
"I close my eyes, and I can see a better day" -- Justin Bieber

Keep the spirit alive;
Eric M
Reply


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