exDemMom cannot answer questions like this, because the scientific method cannot engage them. And thus as the reasoning goes, they really aren't valid questions at all, because the scientific method cannot engage them. These sorts of questions only refer to epiphenomena, ad hoc "penumbras" that arise purposelessly from physical/mechanical/chemical processes. As such, being intangible by-products of real processes in Nature, they are not to be regarded as "real" in themselves. They are only shadows of the real, having no inherent significance in themselves worthy of note by scientists and other enlightened folks.
Voilà! the "triumph" of post-modernist attitudes and thinking! Which seems to leave out a few important details about real human existence and its universal problems.
Ellis Sandoz has pointed out that
At the level of common sense, it is evident that human beings have experiences other than sensory perceptions, and it is equally evident that philosophers like Plato and Aristotle explored reality on the basis of experiences far removed from perception.... Moreover, it is evident that the primarily nonsensory modes of experience address dimensions of human existence superior in rank and worth to those sensory perception does: experiences of the good, beautiful, and just, of love, friendship, and truth [not to mention the profound insight undergirding our nation, that "all men are created equal, that they are ... endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, and that governments thereby derive their just power from the consent of the governed"], of all human virtue and vice, and of divine reality.... Experience of "things" is modeled on the subjectobject dichotomy of perception in which the consciousness intends the object of cognition. But such a model of experience and knowing is ultimately insufficient to explain the operations of consciousness with respect to the nonphenomenal reality men approach in moral, aesthetic, and religious experiences. Inasmuch as such nonsensory experiences are constitutive of what is distinctive about human existence itselfand of what is most precious to mankind a purported science of man unable to take account of them is egregiously defective....Yet it seems the promotion of a vitiating reductionism is the entire post-modernist project. All nonphenomenal reality is either denied or reconstituted in terms of principles abstracted from Nature (i.e., the scientific method itself). In the end, it is at once a flight from reality, and the very inversion of reality itself, in which what we can "measure" (directly observe) becomes the reality itself.
...Since the human condition is preeminently existence in the In-Between of immanence and transcendence, morality and immorality, nature and the divine, and since it participates in all levels of reality, any account of man, society, or history that fails to take all the realms of being into account is defective by reason of a vitiating reductionism....
I am very sorry, but this is simply nutz to me. Talk about "flatlanders!" It's as if these people really do want to go live in a nice, safe cave somewhere, in preference to standing in the Light of what to them is evidently a "fearsome God" that they don't want to have anything to do with. [As if they really had a choice.]
Oh well, I'm ranting again....
Thank you ever so much, dear brother YHAOS, for your splendid essay/post!
Common sense? What's that? Can it be tested scientifically? Observed? Reduced to a hypothesis? Peer reviewed?
Clearly that's why we so little of it in scientific circles.
I know. Thats why I ask them.
. . . the reasoning goes, they really aren't valid questions at all, because the scientific method cannot engage them.
Isnt that called self-referential exclusivity? Or have I just invented a term? (grin)
In any event, its a commonly observed phenomena. For instance, in Politics. A Black pontificates; no White may disagree; the White isnt Black, therefore he has no knowledge of the Black Experience, and is disqualified from comment; any Black who disagrees is an Oreo, black only on the outside but white on the inside; a true Black, contrarily, possesses an all-encompassing experience that allows him to pontificate on all matters (so long as he remains true, a Progressive, in other words).
Thank you, betty, illuminating, as always.
I already answered this to YHAOS; I do not answer such questions from the basis of science because science is a methodology and a knowledge base, not an ethical/moral framework. I have never said that ethics and morals aren't important--they are. But they are imposed onto the scientific method, not derived from it.