Saturday, October 30, 2010

Religion and Science

  • "Benedict specifically praised - and blessed - science and scientists in an address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences" and "also made clear that part of the role of science is to reveal God in the universe" — Pope praises science, but insists God created world. The address in its entirety — Papal Address to Science Academy.

  • Alva Noë argues "that the you-are-your-brain conception is dead wrong and that the best, new biology of consciousness supports this idea that the mind is not in the head" — Strangers In A Strange Land.

  • "Christopher Hitchens' atheist manifesto was subtitled 'how religion poisons everything,' but a new polling analysis challenges that notion, finding that very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being than the rest of the country" — Gallup: Very religious Americans have higher levels of well-being.
  • Labels: , , , , ,

    Bookmark and Share


    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    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."

    7:04 AM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    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!

    11:00 AM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    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.

    5:29 AM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    Agreed about Sagan. I might disagree with him on certain things, but his show taught me a lot when I was kid.

    8:57 AM  

    Post a Comment

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home

    Omnes Sancti et Sanctæ Coreæ, orate pro nobis.