Skip to comments.Breaking Through Conventional Scientific Paradigm
Posted on 07/16/2006 4:45:40 PM PDT by walford
"Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods."
The general, historical dialogue between religion and science goes back a long wayat least to Plato, Aristotle, and Leibniz. Before the 17th century, the goals of science were wisdom, understanding the natural order, and living in harmony with it.
Ever since the "quantum revolution" of about 70 years ago, various scientists have been finding the intriguing parallels between their results and certain mystical-transcendental religions.
Heisenberg, Bohr, Schroedinger, Eddington, Einsteinall held a mystical, spiritual view of the world. Einstein wrote in a letter to a child who asked if scientists pray: "Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universea spirit vastly superior to that of a man...."
...David Bohm's work in subatomic physics had led him to the conclusion that physical entities which seemed to be separate and discrete in space and time are actually unified in an implicit or underlying fashion. In Bohm's terminology, under an unfolded order of separate things and events is an enfolded order of undivided wholeness, and this whole is simultaneously available to each unfolded part. The enfolded order harbors our reality, much as the DNA in the nucleus of the cell conceals potential life and directs the nature of its unfolding...
...ever since Galileo, science has objectified nature by looking at it through lenses. Or, like Pribram put it, "Maybe reality isn't what we see with our eyes. If we did not have that lens, we might know a world organized in the frequency domain. No space, no timejust events..."
"...Has humanity taken a wrong turn somewhere in the past, which has brought about endless division, conflict and destruction?"
He confirms this when he talks about "the corruption of mankind," which was caused by "the pollution which has accumulated over the ages in the nonmanifested consciousness of mankind, which we could call the sorrow of mankind because it leads to all this violence, corruption, disorder, self-deception "
The nonmanifest, according to Bohm, is n-dimensional and not temporal, and cannot be handled in any way by 3-dimensional thought.
"And I think, " Bohm continues, "that this present (pragmatic) view of science has contributed considerably to the disorder in the brain. The origin of the chaos in human relationships is in our fragmented, atomistic untruthful way of thinking..."
"...A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security," wrote Albert Einstein in 1950...
"The inspired man will be thought a lunatic."
As long as nobody confuses God with religeon.
Too far out for me.
Religion is merely a means for the finite to approach the Infinite. Perfectly reasonable and appropriate when it's understood for it's purpose and limitations. When we decide however, that a certain man-made system is closer than others or -- even worse -- that ours is the Only Way because the Almighty said so, then we are flirting with dogmatism. As such it is blasphemy.
Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing -- with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for second and third place.
Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973
Heinlein's Time Enough for Love is a long book with a series of interludes, called "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long." Each consists of several pages of sayings, such as the one I posted.
You can actually find them on the web. Very entertaining. (The first is "Always store beer in a dark place.")
Why are westerners drawn to eastern mysticism when they have a whole mystical tradition in the West. Eastern Christainbity is at least as "mysticaL" as Buddhism, except that it anchors the spirit in the flesh through the doctrine of the incarnation. My impression is that Buddhism that is known to westerners is a buddhism that has been invaded by western concepts; otherwise, it would not be intelligible to westerners. Reminding me of what happened to the "Native American" religions.
The great truth that every great scientist has come to understand
about the "truth" of the universe as known by "science"
is that with each great leap in science
we have learned that suddenly what do not know
has become infinitely larger and infintely more complex
than we imagined before that point.
The more we "know" the more we realize we do not know,
and the more we see pattern and intelligence in what we
have learned, so far.
How is truth different than Truth?
Great post and very inspiring. We can never believe we have acheived a total understanding with regard to nature and science or it will make us complacent and prevent us from moving to the next level.
This is a word best avoided entirely in physics except when placed in quotes, or with careful qualification. Its colloquial use has so many shades of meaning from it seems to be correct to the absolute truths claimed by religion, that its use causes nothing but misunderstanding. Someone once said "Science seeks proximate (approximate) truths." Others speak of provisional or tentative truths. Certainly science claims no final or absolute truths.
On the subject of senses.
My eyes and brain working together tell me that what I am seeing is 100% correct. It isn't, humans have two blind spots that our optical pre/post processing systems work around.
Truth doesn't tell me that a theory might be falsified in the future, science does. It isn't science if it can not be falsified.
Truth doesn't tell me that the Sun rises and sets - science tells me that the Sun appears to rise and set due to the orbiting of earth around said star.
You definition of truth "things we currently believe based on the best evidence available to us at the current time" need a little work.
Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses." Addendum: "Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws." (Courtesy of VadeRetro.)
Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. [Source]
When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.
Hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices."
Proof: Except for math and geometry, there is little that is actually proved. Even well-established scientific theories can't be conclusively proved, because--at least in principle--a counter-example might be discovered. Scientific theories are always accepted provisionally, and are regarded as reliable only because they are supported (not proved) by the verifiable facts they purport to explain and by the predictions which they successfully make. All scientific theories are subject to revision (or even rejection) if new data are discovered which necessitates this.
Law: a generalization that describes recurring facts or events in nature; "the laws of thermodynamics."
Model: a simplified representation designed to illuminate complex processes; a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process; a physical or mathematical representation of a process that can be used to predict some aspect of the process.
Speculation: a hypothesis that has been formed by speculating or conjecturing (usually with little hard evidence). When a scientist speculates he is drawing on experience, patterns and somewhat unrelated things that are known or appear to be likely. This becomes a very informed guess.
Guess: an opinion or estimate based on incomplete evidence, or on little or no information.
Assumption: premise: a statement that is assumed to be true and from which a conclusion can be drawn; "on the assumption that he has been injured we can infer that he will not to play"
Impression: a vague or subjective idea in which some confidence is placed; "his impression of her was favorable"; "what are your feelings about the crisis?"; "it strengthened my belief in his sincerity"; "I had a feeling that she was lying."
Opinion: a personal belief or judgment that is not founded on proof or certainty.
Observation: any information collected with the senses.
Data: factual information, especially information organized for analysis or used to reason or make decisions.
Fact: when an observation is confirmed repeatedly and by many independent and competent observers, it can become a fact.
Science: a method of learning about the world by applying the principles of the scientific method, which includes making empirical observations, proposing hypotheses to explain those observations, and testing those hypotheses in valid and reliable ways; also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study.
Religion: Theistic: 1. the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2. the expression of this in worship. 3. a particular system of faith and worship.
Religion: Non-Theistic: The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relation to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life.
Belief: any cognitive content (perception) held as true; religious faith.
Faith: the belief in something for which there is no material evidence or empirical proof; acceptance of ideals, beliefs, etc., which are not necessarily demonstrable through experimentation or observation. A strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny.
Dogma: a religious doctrine that is proclaimed as true without evidence.
[Last revised 6/20/06]
Care to address my other points?
"Deity(s) did it" isn't falsifiable, that is why science leaves out the supernatural.
I go with the "No space, no timejust events..."
balrog, who cares about puncuation - we're all out of 10th grade -- right?
The article is intellectually bankrupt. It assumes God doesn't want his name used for evil, thus the Blasphemy of Dogma. However such an idea about God must also be a Dogma. Further the history in that article is wrong concerning the Reformation. Reformation initiated years of religious wars. No one, not protestant or Catholic thought at the time that they couldn't salve the disagreement by force. Only over years of exhaustive conflict did they stop fighting over it (although they haven't really in some places). In any case the religious wars did leave everyone with a cynical attitude, which paved the way for the Enlightenment and the irreligiousness of the last few centuries.
Two points here:
1. You write "True, and that is what makes science a theory, it makes assumptions which cannot be determined to be true or false." This is not correct. Science strives to theory. Theory is the highest level of achievement in science (see the definitions I posted earlier). Any assumption, hypothesis, or theory which cannot be falsified is not really science.
2. You write "It assumes that because something is not falsifiable, it it false." Again, not correct. If it is not falsifiable, it is not science. (ID falls within this category: If I can't understand it, then a diety musta did it! Can't be falsified: not science.)
My bad. You are correct. It not necessarily false, it is just not science if it is not falsifiable.
I am glad we agree.
On that note, goodnight. And thanks for the nice discussion (which is getting more and more rare here).
You might think that. I think that's a bunch of philosophy. I avoided philosophy (successfully) through 12 years of college (sociology and economics too).
I prefer science; that is, fact and theory.
Hmmm, the philosophy of science. I thought they were supposed to be seperate....
Who has said they should be separate?
Sorry, but your attempt to kid your way around the thorny issues of epistomology has failed. One cannot talk meaningfully about "fact" without defining fact, and how one can distiguish fact from non-fact. Until one deals with the basic questions of Being and the nature of human knowledge, "science" is just another belief system.
What a lot of drivel!
Worthy of Madonna, or perhaps the Maharishi.
Outside the field of physics Einstein's opinions are about as worthwhile as those of my old aunt Hazel.
Don't forget he was a supporter of every loony left wing cause
and probably a communist sympathizer as well.
As for Dr. Bohm, he was a follower of the charlatan, Krishnamurthi.
As I have said on this forum before
you will learn more about Reality from your dreams
than by a lifetime studying quantum mechanics.
True, but lunatics are also thought to be lunatics, and they heavily outnumber the inspired. If someone has moonbat ideas it is generally safest to start from the viewpoint that they are probably truly a moonbat and then go from there.
To overcome prejudice the genuinely inspired man needs to bring evidence and secure reasoning to the table. If he does this it is surprising how fast science adopts new ideas even when they overturn cherished preconceptions (which is science's strength and its weakness). Religion is largely impervious to ideas that overturn cherished preconceptions (which is also religion's strength and its weakness).
Einstein's view of God is that He is some kind of cosmic auto-mechanic. Better than no God, I suppose, but not much.
In other words, science is everything that can be modeled and predicted by mathematics.
Mathematics breaks down at the singularities. The realm of mathematics is constantly expanding as we improve the models and eliminate the singularities.
Beyond the singularities - that's where religion, superstition and speculation take over.
I would have to argue that the ground that devout men and women have gained in the understanding of the laws of nature, bringing incalculable benefits to mankind, basically renders this comment absurd. But, like all absurd comments, it enjoys a certain following.
Devout men and women have contributed to understanding of the laws of nature to the precise extent to which they left their Holy Works at the laboratory door. People who take their Holy Books in the laboratory with them only make progress understanding the world if the data happens to match the preconceptions they gained from their holy books. For example the Answers in Genesis Ministry requires that its "scientific" workers must sign up in advance to the idea that scientific observations can never contradict a literal reading of the Bible. To my mind you aren't doing science if you get your answers in advance from a Holy Book.
Your absurd canard does enjoy a certain following however, I agree.