Can Scientists & Mystics Work Together?

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Dredd, Nov 4, 2009.

  1. Dredd Dredd Registered Senior Member

    Some wonder if or how humanity will evolve further.

    I mean not simply biological evolution into bigger muscles or other physical attributes, but into a species more adapted to this cosmos.

    In that regard, some say humans will evolve into robots while others say humans will evolve into super beings.

    How do you see it?
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  3. baftan ******* Valued Senior Member

    Evolution never stops since mutations never stop. Yet when conditions (usually environmental) change dramatically mutations try to catch up, or adapt more rapidly. If mutations can not fit the requirements for adaptation, species go extinct.

    In human case, our special manipulations (the way we eat, we socialise; we apply science and technology into our lives, etc.) to our bodies and minds give extra effects for our mutation alongside natural cycles and transformation.

    We would not turn into super beings or robots due to natural mutations or evolutions. But we can turn into something we design in the future, depending on our level of knowledge on DNA manipulation.
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  5. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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  7. Grim_Reaper I Am Death Destroyer of Worlds Registered Senior Member

    X2 what Ben said NO on a really big scale
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Through the eyes of marvel comics of course

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  9. Pandaemoni Valued Senior Member

    That is wrong. Mystics and scientists can work together, just not on science. Put them on the same Left 4 Dead squad though, or side by side building a house for Habitats for Humanity, and they will function together perfectly well.

    As for "will humans evolve to be more adapted to the cosmos" it depends on what is meant. Humans will evolve to be more adapted to their local environment, but not the "cosmos" as a whole. That local environment is likely to change in next few centuries, but it seems unlikely that adaptation to the "cosmos" will confer a greater survival advantage than niche adaptations.

    That said, it seems likely to me that our adaptation will be both biological (as biological evolution is a process that is unlikely to ever be halted), as well as technological. Some may assert that there will be "social" evolution as well, but there I would just say there will be social "changes." Social change, imo, should not count as "evolutionary" because society changes in a manner that does not seem to be especially adaptive. Society is largely responsive to the modes of philosophical thought which just happen to be prevalent in the current generation (with a bit of a lag), and as such it varies much in the same way that "fashion" does, or "etiquette."

    Technology, on the other hand, seems to have a more definite course to it. Since it tends to build on preexisting invention, and only rarely are those inventions lost (at least in the modern era) it is a seemingly steady march of progress there. It is only a matter of time before we learn to integrate such technologies into the human routine. Even now we are pretty good at integrating it as a fix for those who are injured, so we just have to take that nest step.
  10. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

  11. sniffy Banned Banned

    Come now Ben what came first the science or the imagination?

    “What is now proved was once only imagined.” William Blake

    Sometimes scientists lack imagination and that's where the mystics come in. My interpretation of mystic is perhaps broader than the narrow theistic/spiritualistic interpretation usually associated with the word. To me a mytic is simply one that uses imagination to ponder what may not be immediately obvious to those who lack it.

    On spacetime for instance:


    In throwing out the 'bathwater' we should be careful not to throw the 'baby' out as well.....
  12. superstring01 Moderator

    No, in their respective fields.
    Yes, in life, in general, there's no reason they shouldn't get along.

  13. Stryder Keeper of "good" ideas. Valued Senior Member

    There is working together and the of course one dominating the other.

    Scientists wouldn't want to be dominated by Mystics because to a scientist they would frown on the unscientific taking such a position over them (Why do you think Scientists aren't fond of politicians?).

    The mystics just get upset because the scientists are "always right"...(There perception here is that a Scientist will come across as a pedantic know-it-all.) Scientists usually end up being right however because they will crunch the numbers until they get the right result. Perhaps they aren't so much dissimilar to psychics in that sense, after all they will just crunch guesses until they get a near miss that someone will say is a hit.
  14. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

    The original scientists were mystics. They are both seekers of truth. Unfortunately there is a sizeable segement of folks calling themselves mystics these days that are way off the deep end of things. Those folks can and never will be reconciled with science.

    But for a true mystic, a classical mystic, there is no conflict with science. Each is a seeker of truth and knowledge.
  15. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    But mysticism = poop.
  16. sniffy Banned Banned

    But the mystic aztecs discivered spacetime before the unpoopy scientists.
  17. shichimenshyo Caught in the machine Registered Senior Member

    I thought poop=poop but I guess I was mistaken.
  18. Doreen Valued Senior Member

  19. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In case you missed the last couple of hundred thousand years, humans have steadily been turning that around and adapting their environment to themselves. I would argue that the essence of humanity is our desire and ability to transcend nature. We've done that with our own nature, by overriding our instinctive behavior with reasoned and learned behavior, arguably having converted ourselves from the pack-social species that our inner caveman still occasionally reverts to, into a herd-social species of anonymous strangers living in harmony and cooperation with one another.

    And we've also done it with external nature. What percentage of your time do most of you spend outdoors?
    As I have noted before, we have already "evolved" into a super-organism known as civilization. We are its cells and it has many or most of the attributes that define life. Particularly the new succinct definition: a local reversal of entropy.

    After all, this is how the original single-cell lifeforms evolved into complex organisms: by joining up and becoming something larger than the sum of its parts.
    That's a bit of anthropomorphism. Mutation is a force without direction and it proceeds at the same pace, subject to variations in cosmic radiation, etc. What happens is that when there's an upheaval in the environment, mutated individuals may suddenly be more suitable for survival in it than those with the original DNA, so they're the ones who reproduce more successfully.

    This even happens with simple hybridization. Cross-pollination is ubiquitous among the angiosperms because of the random way pollen is distributed by wind, insects, hummingbirds, etc. Yet hybrid plants rarely survive to reproduce, because they are not as well adapted to the conditions of soil, weather, etc., as the ancestral species. But let man come along and screw up the environment, and all bets are off. Biologists know that the place to look for stands of hybrid plants is along roadways.
    I'm not sure how you're defining "mysticism," but supernaturalism comes pretty close. Supernaturalists and scientists are not only able to work together, but in an enormous number of cases they are the same person. Look at all the scientists who belong to churches and honestly believe in supernatural beings who capriciously perturb the operation of the natural universe. Yet when they go back to the lab they wouldn't think of violating the scientific method by accepting an extraordinary hypothesis without extraordinary evidence, especially an extraordinary hypothesis that gainsays the fundamental premise underlying all science.

    This is cognitive dissonance, and it's rampant, especially in the USA: The ability to believe two things that are mutually exclusive.
    I'm not so sure about that. Evolution is not just the occurrence of mutations. It is also the survival of the mutated organisms because a change in the environment makes it more difficult for the unmutated organisms to survive.

    That speaks to one of the aspects of nature that we are determined to transcend: survivability. We routinely expend great quantities of resources saving, nurturing and protecting people who could not possibly survive naturally because of illness, injury, or even genetic problems. Look at all the quadriplegics, the deaf and blind, the ones with Down Syndrome, and the other people who would have been left to die fifty thousand years ago--not because their communities were crueler (I'm sure their mothers loved them just as much then as they do now because love, thankfully, is not rational), but simply because there was no technology then to allow them to survive.

    If our environment starts to change--whether by the caprice of nature or by our own hand--to make it more difficult for "normal" children to grow to adulthood, you can bet that the entire GDP of this planet will be diverted into inventing the medicines, shelters, appliances, software, and other technologies needed to overcome the new "universal handicap." Hell, if we do that for "the crips and retards," do you doubt that we would do it for everybody? Have you ever worked in a hospital and seen our species at its most noble, rallying around a premature baby?

    We can't stop mutation, but we will do our best to stop the other component of the vector that turns mutation into evolution: We won't let the people with the unmutated DNA die off.
    And I call that the evolution of the organism named "civilization."
    Absolutely correct. Civilization does not evolve to adapt to nature. Civilization evolves to increase its ability to transcend nature, to make nature adapt to it. Every Paradigm Shift has been a step in that transcendence.

    The Agricultural Revolution, the precursor to civilization, freed us from the "nature" of the famine cycle by creating the first food surplus that ever existed. The technology of civilization itself freed us from the humdrum of village life by making division of labor and economies of scale possible, allowing people to become professional teachers and artists and permitting the production of goods and services that were not essential to survival. Metallurgy finally freed us from the Stone Age. Writing freed us from the knowledge attrition of oral communication. Industry freed us from the 98% inevitability of "careers" in food production and distribution. Electronics... well it gave us SciForums.

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    With each step we overcome a little more of nature and live in a universe a little more of our own design. Here you and I are at this moment, living in a "virtual universe" that has almost nothing at all of nature in it.

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  20. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Perhaps the case where one must believe something that contradicts current scientific knowledge, but not the case if there is no contradiction. A Christian biologist who believes the earth formed 5,000 years ago has this problem. A theist does not necessarily at all.

    Unless one limits all of one's beliefs to those generally accepted by the scientific community as experimentally validated, we all believe in things without sufficient evidence. And extraordinary is a very subjective and non-scientific term. It has enormous cultural biases built into it. Note how it is brought up in these contexts without reference 'to whom' it is extraordinary.

    There is no neutral eye.

    Thank goodness, for example, animal trainers did not avoid seeing animals as having consciousness, intentions, motivations, etc. despite the scientific community thinking this notion required extraordinary evidence and the Judao-Christians ruling these out.

    Now we would say it is extraordinary to assume they did not have these things in some form.

    Then it was seen by some as extraordinary to assume they did and that we could trust our intuition on it.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Theism is the belief in at least one god: a supernatural creature who lives in a supernatural universe. Up to this point it is not antiscientific. However, since it is an extraordinary assertion unsupported by extraordinary evidence, which Laplace tells us we are not obliged to treat with respect, it is certainly unscientific.

    But theism as practiced by the religions which we have to make space for in the USA goes one step further. This supernatural creature, at random intervals, brings supernatural forces to bear upon the natural universe, perturbing its behavior. At this point we have an antiscientific assertion. It contradicts the fundamental principle that underlies all science: that the natural universe is not acted upon by external forces, that on the contrary its behavior is entirely the result of its own natural laws, and that this behavior can be understood and predicted by theories derived logically from empirical observation of its present and past behavior.

    A scientist who believes merely in a god who sits out in some unobservable dimension watching us for his own amusement does not contradict science, he merely has an active imagination. Even a scientist who hews to the Cosmic Watchmaker story, that a god had a hand in causing the singularity we call the Big Bang but is now out there with the other god observing the results of his handiwork, does not contradict science.

    But a scientist who believes in a god who talks to humans, turns them into pillars of salt, parts seas, sets bushes on fire and resurrects people when they're dead believes that the universe suffers exceptions to its natural laws at the whim of an external force that is not bound by natural laws. That belief thrusts its middle finger in the face of science and constitutes cognitive dissonance.

    The issue is not that theism contradicts current scientific knowledge. Theism--at least the familiar Abrahamic variety--contradicts science itself.
  22. hay_you Registered Member

    Actually science and creation are really the same thing, just describing different points of view of the same universe. Science attempts to explain how things are made, religions attempts to explain why. The seemingly conflict with science and religion is from the misinformation on both sides. Truth is when both come together.
  23. Doreen Valued Senior Member

    Right there you are using word that leads to problems: supernatural. You do not have to believe that God is unnatural as a theist.

    This sounded a lot like an appeal to authority. And from what neutral ground do we determine 'ordinary'?

    While I don't want to defend for example fundamentalist Christianity, I don't think science would take a position on what exceptions might or might not take place. It would simply consider these natural. I feel like words are problematic here. If we take universe to mean everything, including an entity that is outside of what we normally experience, then there is a problem. IOW this is like the word 'supernatural'. That we could have rules and then that these rules are apparently broken by something outside of what we usually are capable of experiencing can happen. It has happened, for example, to Native groups in the US during contact. IOW technological differences allowed this to happen. In relation to animals, we humans can seemingly break rules. That there may be some higher order entity that can break what we consider rules - but in fact simply reflect our lack of knowledge of the whole set of rules and conditions, is not ruled out by science. Science cannot rule out, for example, that we are in a simulation that on occasion is twiddled with by some other intelligences. And I realize how simulation questions are moot in many ways, but I use it as an example of how scientists can be correct about all the rules they have found - which can also be true given the set up parameters in a simulation - AND YET, these rules can be broken, on occasion, but the ones who designed the 'universe'. The fact would remain that the scientists were skilled and effective at learning empirical patterns in their world. At the same time what seem to be exceptions would actually not be once one knew the larger context and set of rules in the UNIVERSE that is our universe + the simulator's.

    I agree.

    See above.

    I am not sure what the distinction is.

    Pick any period, somewhat distant in the past, and the then current scientific knowledge would have label acts we are now capable of as breaking rules. We later learned not only new things but a wider range of contexts. We don't know all the rules and how some of these unknown one might apparently contradict some of the ones we know.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009

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