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  1. #51
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    I think you misunderstood me. I never claimed science as a methodology is religious in itself; it is not. But religions are formed on the basis of beliefs; and anyone who claims beliefs about what the methodology of science can teach us about the world is religious.

    For example, believing that all meaning to the world can be explained in objective measures of science is a belief about science and one that it can't wholly prove or disprove because even working with the idea of subjective meaning automatically creates a realm of knowledge it doesn't deal with. Such a scientist that believes this and uses it to devalue the subjective meaning of other people in favor of objective meaning is not only dehumanizing them, but using science to subject them to their beliefs. For this person, they use science as a religious device; but science in itself is just a methodology for understanding and interpreting the objective world. That however, does not somehow make the subjective world any less real or meaningful to reality, as a religious scientist might believe.
    Well, again, this just reminds us that depending on how loosely we define religion, science can be said to be a "religion", I just think that such a definition is so broad as to be useless to any meaningful contemplation or discourse.

    I believe that science is a means of arriving at theories we can place stock in on the basis of observable evidence, and only on that basis. By this definition, it would not be a religion.

    For that reason, yes, the most appropriate philosophical stance a would-be scientist (or one who endeavors to regard life in a scientific manner) can take is that of skepticism. Skepticism being: I believe it to the extent that it has proof in its favor.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  2. #52
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    For that reason, yes, the most appropriate philosophical stance a would-be scientist (or one who endeavors to regard life in a scientific manner) can take is that of skepticism. Skepticism being: I believe it to the extent that it has proof in its favor.
    So do you think science can prove whether dualism of mind exists or not? This is more or less what I was getting at. Some people will argue as scientists that the metaphysical is an illusion and then that science leads to the only truth about the world. I do consider that a religious belief or view in regards to science because whether such a thing can be proven or disproven in any conclusive manner is ontologically questionable to begin with.

  3. #53
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little_Sticks View Post
    So do you think science can prove whether dualism of mind exists or not? This is more or less what I was getting at. Some people will argue as scientists that the metaphysical is an illusion and then that science leads to the only truth about the world. I do consider that a religious belief or view in regards to science because whether such a thing can be proven or disproven in any conclusive manner is ontologically questionable to begin with.
    I'm not sure what you refer to specifically, but I consider myself an transcendental idealist. In simple terms, I think that to be human is to be one of the manners in which reality regards itself, and that at its highest level, reality must be infinite and unbounded in all respects.

    However, if we define truth as fidelity to reality while acknowledging the caveat that here we mean "reality as it presents itself through the human thinking apparatus", then the scientific method is the only manner of arriving at likely truths.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  4. #54
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Do you reject the Theory of Forms then? If you do, how come? If not, is it separate from what science can uncover about the world?

  5. #55
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    Are you referring to Platonic forms?
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  6. #56
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Yeah.

  7. #57
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Little Sticks, that's a good question and I apologize for not responding more quickly. My schedule has been... constraining, of late.

    To answer that question, I don't really see how the idea of Forms has any explanatory force. A brief and frank inventory of the contents of the imagination immediately reveals that everything we perceive in the mind's eye was built up from experience with instances of objects. I.e., we learn "hard" as opposed to "soft" through interaction with objects, "heavy" as opposed to "light", and so on. What I envision when I think of a "rock" is almost certainly not what you envision, even though it's likely similar. The idea that we have an innate understanding of what constitutes a "rock" and go about looking for objects to file beneath this "Form" in our mind doesn't seem to have any basis to me.

    Anyway, it's all just semantics. There are a near-infinite number of rocks in the universe, and it's only for the sake of convenience that we file these under the category of "rock" in the English language. I think this is the point when a Buddhist monk demands his disciples describe his walking stick, without calling it either a stick or a not-something-else.
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  8. #58
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    Professional sport is a religion; the military are a religion; political parties are a religion; even the church is a religion, but science is not a religion.

    Science came to us from the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries and is based on evidence, reason and scepticism. While no one, without special pleading, can think professional sport, the military, a political party, and the church, are based on evidence, reason and scepticism.

  9. #59

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    I prefer not to be bound by labels. Science, religion, philosophy, and so on are just avenues to seek truth.

    Science certainly has some core beliefs that guide its process. You might say that it is a pragmatic form of logical empiricism, and perhaps even some materialism. I haven't looked at the definitions of various philosophies for a long time, so I could be a bit off.

    I think the main reason that scientists and science enthusiasts resist being clumped in with "religion" is because religion is often (unfairly) seen as the province of those who do not think, or rather those who choose to stop thinking about deeper questions in order to accept easy answers. We want the freedom to keep asking, and seeking answers.

    Unfortunately, on the internet, this science/region debate usually pits new earth creationists against atheist evolutionary biologists. This makes those who advocate for "religion" look stupid, and those who advocate for "science" look godless. Unfortunately, the "intelligent design" community just makes things worse with ridiculous arguments about hurricanes building cars and such. Does a ball end up at the bottom of a hill because of "random chance"? Does the fact that it doesn't mean it as "intelligently placed" at the bottom of the hill?

    There are plenty of God fearing/God loving scientists in the world. There is no inherent contradiction in turning to religion in matters of "ought" and science for matters of "is". (For those who claim that nutrition, economics, or well-being psychology, answers "ought", I think you miss the basic assumptions involved there. There is certainly good guidance, but the primary aims in each of these things is not something that I believe ought to be "objectively" calculated.)

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #60
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    Science has a completely different set of rules than religion. I'm not even sure how the two can be compared, unless one makes the argument that within science there is belief. Belief is the basis of religion, yet science aims to achieve some sort of objectivity. In order words, science aims to be Spock, whereas, religion remains in the realm of the unknown.

    The pillar of science today is the use of the scientific method which is based on researching and testing hypotheses. How does this compare to religion, which is based on claims supposedly made by a deity?

    Odd tangent #1:

    I wonder if this is some carryover from the belief that atheism is a religion. Or, my personal favorite, when people denounce things like evolution as merely "theories." Well, of course they are only theories, what else could they possibly be? The irony is that science aims to be open to new evidence: we leave things open-ended because one day we may find that one piece of evidence that destroys the theory and then we will throw the theory out. In the meantime, so long as the evidence we find remains within the theory, the theory is safe. Religion doesn't work this way. Religion is always coming up with explanations of why it is wrong.

    Odd tangent #2:

    While I am not religious, I also don't believe science should be used to prove religion as a whole. Perhaps some elements in religion can be tested, but how you can test the existence of god or whether miraculous things occur? For something to be miraculous it means that it cannot be replicated, which is the purpose of science. Science makes no claims about religion, because it cannot.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Science, religion, philosophy, and so on are just avenues to seek truth.
    This point is utter brilliance. There are differences between the three, or at the very least there are certain constructs that try to differ each or hold one to a higher standard, but no doubt each is serving a similar purpose.

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