"The superior man is catholic and no partizan. The mean man is a partizan and not catholic." (君子周而不比、小人比而不周。) ─ Confucius, The Analects, 2.XIV, translation by James Legge.
Labels: America the Beautiful, Philosophy, Religion, Science, The Catholic Faith, The Holy Father
posted by Iosue Andreas Sartorius at 4:06 PM (Permalink)
I read that part and chuckled. The idea of an ex nihilo base for consciousness is even more laughable than the idea that it comes from proteins bumping into each other.The insights technicians have into the physical world are often interesting and valuable, like the idea that "new biology of consciousness supports this idea that the mind is not in the head," however when these same technicians try to play philosopher or theologian, they make utter fools of themselves.Scientists need to remember their role as mere technicians. Nietschean (not Catholic) philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset noted that "a fair amount of the things that have to be done in physics or in biology is mechanical work of the mind which can be done by anyone, or almost anyone," suggesting that "experimental science has progressed thanks in great part to the work of men astoundingly mediocre, and even less than mediocre."He went on to say, "Anyone who wishes can observe the stupidity of thought, judgment, and action shown today in politics, art, religion, and the general problems of life and the world by the 'men of science,' and of course, behind them, the doctors, engineers, financiers, teachers, and so on."
Ponder that statement: "Not because something immaterial does this work for you, but because nothing does." Is it not hilarious? It's like a Zen koan! I'm reminded that "Nothingness" is another name for tao (道), which Matteo Ricci used to translate logos (λόγος) from the Gospel of John.)The immaterial, of course, is beyond the limits of science, but to posit an even more unprovable Nothingness in his place is what passes for scientific thought? Technicians should stick to their technical work, and leave the big questions to their intellectual superiors in philosophy and theology.The Argument from Consciousness, it seems, is losing its primary materialist objection, and materialists are replacing it with nothing, literally!
That LittleDog Robot you linked might impress a boyish mind interested in toys, but a thinking man realizes its merely the culmination of thousands of years of small advances made by masses of people. Neat maybe, but not a work of genius. Could "almost anyone" have built it? No, no one could have built by himself, just as no one can make a pencil by himself. The same can be said for "reliable instantaneous communication between continents," not to take away from the geniuses responsible for individual breakthroughs along the way. "How are 'philosopher' and 'scientist' mutually exclusive?" They are not, but this is not the Renaissance. Science requires too much specialization these days. Systems biology and such fields may be reversing the trend in some quarters, but that does not change things too much. Of course, some manage to combine be both, like Father Stanley L. Jaki, OSB, but anyone doing cutting edge work in science would likely have no time for serious philosophy.
Agreed about Sagan. I might disagree with him on certain things, but his show taught me a lot when I was kid.
Post a Comment
Create a Link
Subscribe in a reader
Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner