Science as Mythology

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by lightgigantic, Nov 6, 2006.

  1. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    The loss in translation happens between the Universe, and the maths. The universe is equally invisible to visible. The maths for the invisible can be translated incorrectly. Strangely, even the direction, and weight of maths can be the opposite to what is written. For example, in the visible world you can fall into a hole, in the invisible world science has you pulled towards a magnet, the opposite. In the visible world you can fill a bucket with water. In the invisible world science has the bucket pull the water into the hole, and then it suggests that the bucket weighs the weight of the water.
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Wynn wrote:

    I think that's overstated. I know quite a few scientists and most of them aren't like that.

    It probably is true though, that the modern scientific world-view is corrosive to the kind of traditional views of the universe that imagined it as being more meaningful, moral and magical than what's replaced it. Science doesn't provide people a purposeful framework for the events of their lives and for their inevitable suffering, as older religious mythologies did. (Of course, science is able to address many forms of suffering in far more effective ways.) Ultimately there's no longer the same promise of transcendence and salvation.

    I don't really see that corrosion of ancient tradition as something that scientists knowingly intended. Scientists often don't really experience the arguably-nihilistic cultural byproducts of their work very strongly themselves, since they are so passionately motivated by their own quests towards intellectual gnosis. Penetrating the secrets of the universe is their purpose and their highest value. In a weird sort of way, there's still a strong hint of the medieval monk in the modern scientist.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    That passage has "anti-science luddites", "excuse to whine and cry", "justify thier own self-imposed abyssmal ignorance", along with the suggestion that these sorry people need to "read a little bit, educate them selves, and move into the modern world"

    That kind of language does seem to be consistent with Wynn's idea that people who embrace scientism often believe themselves "justified to despise the general public". There does seem to be kind of a haughty elitism to some of the popular expressions of scientism, the idea that simply by believing in a particular set of beliefs one is called apart from the common herd. It's kind of reminiscent of the religious true-believers of past centuries denouncing "heretics" and "idolators" in equally scathing language.
     
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  7. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

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    I do not despise the general public. I do despise those who, with the full force of their own willful ignorance, refuse to educate themselves about the nature and nurture of science, and yet feel qualified to pass judgement upon it.

    As to my choice of words, I'm fairly new here, so you won't yet have learned that I use words very carefully, and it is not by chance or accident that a given word or phrase is employed. Those who care to think will see the links, those who either care not, or willfully decide to ignore the information carried in the very choice of words will be a few bricks short of a picnic. That excepts, of course the rare typo.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    How can you consider yourself intelligent or civilized, and yet harbor contempt?



    Spoken like a true fundamentalist.
     
  9. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

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    Wynn, you really are a one-trick pony, aren't you? Or are you simply another annoying parrot-bot?
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    And yet it is not uncommon for scientists and those who are pro-science to demand from the general population to believe that science does indeed "provide people a purposeful framework for the events of their lives and for their inevitable suffering."


    For example?


    If that is the case, why then do they avoid large tracts of the Universe altogether, such as those available via introspection?
     
  11. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Can you tell us what is intelligent and civilized about harboring contempt?
     
  12. RichW9090 Evolutionist Registered Senior Member

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    Tell me, Wynn, what emotions you feel for Jerry Sandusky? Love and concern?

    You really are a simpleton.
     
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    So much for your superiority.
     
  14. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

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    You hit it. Most religous fundamentalists are.
     
  15. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Have you noticed the advances medical treatment has made in the last 100 years, or even the last 10?
     
  16. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Have you noticed that more and more microorganisms are becoming drug resistant and that health care is becoming more and more expensive and that fewer and fewer people can afford it?
     
  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I probably should say that I'm pro-science. I was actually a biology undergraduate, back in the day.

    In my experience, I haven't seen real scientists doing that very often. They aren't typically evangelicals and aren't interested in converting the general population to a new faith. If scientists have a fault, it's that many of them aren't very good at communicating about science with non-scientists. Many of them don't even care to try, except perhaps at funding time. They teach science in universities, sure, but they don't really know how to get the flavor of their work across to people who haven't already had the introductory sequences of physics, calculus, chemistry and biology.

    But deep down in their own lives, yeah, there oftentimes does seem to be sort of a 'spiritual' dimension to what they do. They'll comment on it after they've had a few drinks. Many scientists seem to me to be seekers, people on a lifelong quest, whose goal is some kind of deeper fundamental gnosis. That's why I compared them with medieval monks. It's a calling.

    And there's what I'm calling 'scientism', which overlaps with what I've just described but isn't identical with it. Scientism seems to me to be more prevalent in the general public than among working scientists themselves. It's an evangelical religious-style approach to science, a faith-based trust and belief that science is indeed the light, the truth and the way, and a conviction that anything unscientific is stupid, inferior and very likely evil.

    And there's something else too that's separate and apart from whatever it is that motivates individual scientists and from whether or not members of the broader public have faith in science. There's the matter of the broad cultural changes that science has caused and continues to cause in how people conceive of the universe and their own lives. I've argued that science has been very corrosive of the old medieval certainties. And while I see that generally as a good and progressive thing, I'm also aware that science hasn't been able to fill all the aspects of people's lives that supernatural faith once addressed. So many people feel cast adrift in the world and fear that their lives lack any larger meaning. That's been a major theme in the nineteenth and twentieth century humanities.

    I don't think that most scientists intended any nihilistic effects. The scientists don't typically feel any personal sense of loss, since they are so completely consumed by the pursuit of their own gnostic quests. The popular adherents of scientism do feel it though, and respond to it by denouncing what was lost and by insisting that anything unscientific is just stupidity and obscurantism that's best forgotton.

    We see some of that expressed here on Sciforums, which isn't really a board for professional scientists after all, but rather a place for laypeople interested in science. So coming to terms with the worldview of science culturally and psychologically is a huge part of what Sciforums is about.
     
  18. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    In effect, this evangelizing is taking place in schools, though. And children are expected to convert, at least superficially - or they fail the tests, and with enough such failures, fail to earn the qualifications to earn a decent living.


    Which is the message of our education system.


    They should be concerned about them, though, and they should do something about them.


    And this coming to terms with the worldview of science culturally and psychologically is about what exactly? Learning to lie and be duplicitious?

    I want to know, as this concerns me personally. Anyone who has had their professional career endagered due to not "going with the flow" knows what I am talking about.
    In practice, all that scientific rigor is worth absolutely nothing, and everything comes down to interpersonal politics and who is willing to administer low blows - while at the same time, big scientific words are used.

    So how does one "come to terms with the worldview of science culturally and psychologically" - other than by deliberate denial and intoxication?
     
  19. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Something you would not know about without science. And in fact this is the result of evolution and further evidence in favor of it.
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    And knowing this really really helps to reduce the suffering of those who have drug-resistant infections and who cannot afford further medical treatment?
     
  21. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, we know what causes that now... It's called evolution.
    Red herring.
     
  22. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Why should they?

    Knowledge is amoral, neither good or evil... It's not the scientist's job to tell you how you should "feel" about it. :shrug:
     
  23. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    You are getting more for your money, you just don't realize it. There's a diminishing return of saved lives on increased expenditures. A health care budge of, say, 10% of what we spend in America might be 80% as effective.

    My wife had a few stitches put in her hand last year, during which time I was being quite sociable with the doctor, and when it was over the surgeon asked if I wanted the tools! He said they would otherwise get thrown away. These are top quality surgical tools (clamps, blades, etc). I took them home and priced them out at many hundreds of dollars. I suspect someone, somewhere, once got Hep C because a tool wasn't properly disinfected and now we all pay for it...for eternity.

    Ridiculous.
     

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