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  1. #311
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    Maybe because attaining such knowledge would be utterly unprecedented?
    Three hundred years ago, think about the knowledge we have nowadays that would have been considered utterly unprecedented... and humans had been around for 250,000 years at that point.

  2. #312
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Why are you so sure that at some point, we won't be able to explain all natural phenomena?
    Because I recognise several things: 1) the immense engimatic complexity of the universe and 2) man's limitations in understanding it

    The more you know about the world, the more aware you become of how much you DON'T know. As Socrates put it, the wise man is one who knows he's ignorant.

    Three hundred years ago, think about the knowledge we have nowadays that would have been considered utterly unprecedented... and humans had been around for 250,000 years at that point.
    "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount....The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."
    --General Omar Bradley

  3. #313
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Three hundred years ago, think about the knowledge we have nowadays that would have been considered utterly unprecedented... and humans had been around for 250,000 years at that point.
    And how much closer are we to "knowing it all" than we were a quarter million years ago?

    You have no idea and neither do I.

    I repeat: Coming to know everything there is to know is an unprecedented event. We've never done it before. We don't even have a measure by which to judge how close we are. Under the circumstances, it's a much safer bet to say it will never happen than to be assured that it will.

  4. #314
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    And how much closer are we to "knowing it all" than we were a quarter million years ago?

    You have no idea and neither do I.
    Although deeply anti-religious, Nietzsche was equally skeptical of those who claimed science could provide all the answers too. He remarked that while our "descriptions" of the world have become more complex, our actual "understanding" of it is on the same level as back in Plato's day.

    That's a good way of putting it IMO.

  5. #315
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Because I recognise several things: 1) the immense engimatic complexity of the universe and 2) man's limitations in understanding it

    The more you know about the world, the more aware you become of how much you DON'T know. As Socrates put it, the wise man is one who knows he's ignorant.
    I'm so confused.

    A lot of conservative religion claims we can know immutable things about God, a nebulous entity; that this understanding comes immediately through revelation in all of its complexity and certainty; and that this is good enough to impose one's beliefs on others via political and social context.

    Yet empirical science, which can be falsified and observed and tested and has also shown a historical pattern of increasing (and valuable) knowledge by the perpetuation of this empirical pattern of testing, is immediately placed under the "untrustworthy" rule because it can't possibly understand the world in all its complexity?

    I don't think that's what's being said anyway.

    • Science never has to "understand everything" nor even claim that it must. It is merely a process that is used to explore and understand (and potentially manipulate) the world.
    • Religion is what insists that it "knows the truth" up front, usually via special revelation, so no testing or exploring is actually necessary. There's no reason to explore, except to justify what is already believed and accepted.


    "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount....The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants."
    --General Omar Bradley
    Yeah, whatever. That's at one extreme, the religious zealots are at the other, and the truth rests somewhere in between.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #316
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Yeah, whatever. That's at one extreme, the religious zealots are at the other, and the truth rests somewhere in between.
    I think the truth probably lies off in some direction none of us ever expected.

    Reality isn't bound by our compromises, you know.

  7. #317
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm so confused.

    A lot of conservative religion claims we can know immutable things about God, a nebulous entity; that this understanding comes immediately through revelation in all of its complexity and certainty; and that this is good enough to impose one's beliefs on others via political and social context.

    Yet empirical science, which can be falsified and observed and tested and has also shown a historical pattern of increasing (and valuable) knowledge by the perpetuation of this empirical pattern of testing, is immediately placed under the "untrustworthy" rule because it can't possibly understand the world in all its complexity?

    I don't think that's what's being said anyway.

    • Science never has to "understand everything" nor even claim that it must. It is merely a process that is used to explore and understand (and potentially manipulate) the world.
    • Religion is what insists that it "knows the truth" up front, usually via special revelation, so no testing or exploring is actually necessary. There's no reason to explore, except to justify what is already believed and accepted.
    +1.

    It's very hard to come up with a coherent and rational criticism of the scientific method, because it's a completely rational process.

  8. #318
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm so confused.

    A lot of conservative religion claims we can know immutable things about God, a nebulous entity; that this understanding comes immediately through revelation in all of its complexity and certainty; and that this is good enough to impose one's beliefs on others via political and social context.

    Yet empirical science, which can be falsified and observed and tested and has also shown a historical pattern of increasing (and valuable) knowledge by the perpetuation of this empirical pattern of testing, is immediately placed under the "untrustworthy" rule because it can't possibly understand the world in all its complexity?

    I don't think that's what's being said anyway.

    • Science never has to "understand everything" nor even claim that it must. It is merely a process that is used to explore and understand (and potentially manipulate) the world.
    • Religion is what insists that it "knows the truth" up front, usually via special revelation, so no testing or exploring is actually necessary. There's no reason to explore, except to justify what is already believed and accepted.
    Science is a tool, based upon empirical observation and experimentation. It cannot determine metaphysical truths, which is the realm of religion and philosophy. The notion that science is the ultimate source of truth is called Scientism, which in the end is still a philosophical perspective about science.

    Empirical study and religious revealation are not necessarily opposites. After all, the natural world is a creation of God - so the study of it can help us understand further the nature of God's work. This was certainly the perspective of many of the Medieval Scholastics, and according to scholars like Lynn White this theological perspective actually helped give birth to theoretical science altogether - since it involved smashing the old pagan conceptions of animism and demythologising the natural world.

    This also leads into issues concerning Occasionalism, which I touched upon briefly earlier in the thread; namely that it's not advanced much within Christian circles.

  9. #319
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajblaise View Post
    +1.

    It's very hard to come up with a coherent and rational criticism of the scientific method, because it's a completely rational process.
    Circular Reasoning?

  10. #320
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    And how much closer are we to "knowing it all" than we were a quarter million years ago?

    You have no idea and neither do I.

    I repeat: Coming to know everything there is to know is an unprecedented event. We've never done it before. We don't even have a measure by which to judge how close we are. Under the circumstances, it's a much safer bet to say it will never happen than to be assured that it will.
    What's to say that it's impossible? Hell, traveling to the moon was impossible 75 years ago - and people were only barely beginning to understand that it was workable. Why set these limits for yourself?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Although deeply anti-religious, Nietzsche was equally skeptical of those who claimed science could provide all the answers too. He remarked that while our "descriptions" of the world have become more complex, our actual "understanding" of it is on the same level as back in Plato's day.

    That's a good way of putting it IMO.
    How would you define "understand"? We understand the world in much more complex ways than Nietzsche had available to him - there was no relativity theory nor quantum theory in those days. The idea of chemistry being applied physics was only barely in its nascence.

    I have to think that this comment is less relevant than it was in his day.

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