Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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MH2

climber
Mar 17, 2013 - 12:18am PT
"I'm made of stone," says the stone,
"and must therefore keep a straight face."


from Conversation With a Stone by Wisława Szymborska
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 17, 2013 - 12:48am PT
Credit: TomCochrane





Nazca Lines, Peru
Nazca Lines, Peru
Credit: TomCochrane
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 17, 2013 - 01:36am PT
http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2013/03/16/cern-now-certain-it-has-discovered-the-higgs-boson/

CERN Now Certain It Has Discovered The Higgs Boson

Last July, scientists at CERN announced that, using the Large Hadron Collider, it had discovered a particle that was consistent with the properties they’d expect to find in Higgs boson. A Higgs boson is the particle that the current model of physics describes as giving mass to all particles in the universe.

Despite the excitement of that discovery, the scientists at CERN were hesitant to say that they had made a definitive discovery. Instead, they described the particle as a “Higgs-like boson” – even after their findings were accepted in peer-reviewed publications. That’s because there were still more tests to be run in order to confirm what had been found.
How Much Does It Cost To Find A Higgs Boson? Alex Knapp Alex Knapp Forbes Staff
Scientists Set The Higgs Boson To Music Alex Knapp Alex Knapp Forbes Staff

On Thursday, however, CERN stopped hesitating. They’ve announced that the the particle described in July 2012 was, in fact, a Higgs Boson.

“The preliminary results with the full 2012 data set are magnificent and to me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is,” spokesperson Joe Incandela said in a statement.

To make this final determination, the dataset was analyzed to see if the quantum properties of the boson discovered in July matched the properties that are currently predicted by physics. After tests in two different detectors, it was confirmed that the particle possessed those properties.

“The beautiful new results represent a huge effort by many dedicated people. They point to the new particle having the spin-parity of a Higgs boson as in the Standard Model,” spokesperson Dave Charlton said in a statement.

This is hardly the end of the road for Higgs study, though. It’s only the beginning. Scientists at CERN and elsewhere have years of work ahead of them learning more about this particle, more about its properties, and what its implications are for physics. This may be a landmark discovery, but it’s a landmark on the coast of a continent that we’ve only caught glimpses of here and there.

We still have lots of exploring to do.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 17, 2013 - 02:52am PT
Tom: It seems that the more we learn and the farther reaching our instruments, the bigger and more extensive are the unanswered questions.

Last time I checked, that's exactly how science works and is suppose to work. And, in fact, that's the best aspect of science - that we learn to ask better and better questions. And it's the quality of our questions, far more so than that of our answers, which defines us.

So far my personal results have been coming to an understanding that the sciences have certainly served to expand our knowledge and awareness of many things...but some in the community of scientists are no less opinionated, bigoted, taboo ridden, and myopic than other recognizably superstitious societies...

Nonsense.

It seems the sciences have been co-opted as the new religion to control and limit the thoughts of the human community.

Paranoid nonsense.

However many of the basic assumptions of the sciences are probably wrong...as discovered by dedicated scientists doing research and verification of the basic 'laws of science.'

That's also how science works - the sometimes wholesale overturning of earlier understandings as the quality of our questions and methods of inquiry evolve.

Unfortunately, open-minded scientists who are not so crippled by sanctioned opinions...

Casting the [foundational] peer review process as resulting in crippling "sanctioned opinions" is to project hobgoblins where none exist. And it's hard to interpret such opinions as anything but a desperate plea to lower the bar of science such that any unsupportable imaginings and personal fantasies - which otherwise can't survive the peer review process - be elevated to the same level as methods and data which do survive it. For all intents and purposes it's a plea to roll back the clock to times when the world was ruled by exclusively by superstition and fear.

...and who become interested in unusual phenomena tend to keep their interests quiet in order to avoid the scorn and ridicule of their colleagues. That has to change...and is changing...

You mean like the Sasquatch folks who manufactured both their data and the 'scientific' journal they published their 'study' in; the latter because no real, peer-reviewed journal would ever consider touching it.

We have much to learn, and some opinionated scientific bigots are heading for a severe reality adjustment.

What really drives and expands the horizon of science is not what we do know, it's our ability to learn and understand what we don't know which in turn drives inquiry. Of course we have much to learn - we've only broken the surface of all there is to potentially learn, know, and understand.

But there are no shortcuts in science, no magic wands. And if your hypothesis, methods, and data can't survive a legitimate peer review process, then what are you really asking? A world where the work of legitimate scientists is indistinguishable from the DeNovo's? A world where the study of inter-dimensional Sasquatch is celebrated as 'science'? Is that really what you want?

In a word: poppycock. And the only "reality adjustment" in the offing is the one science delivers every day to fantacists, charlatans, the delusional, the overly optimistic, and the incompetent seeking shortcuts.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 17, 2013 - 11:35am PT
Well put. I am continuously puzzled at the assertions just put forth by Tom and others on the "other side". My understanding of science is that there is no "other side", only that which is yet unexplained and unknown, for which explanation is continuously sought not ignored or scorned as a matter of some ideological imperative. The accusations such as this:

but some in the community of scientists are no less opinionated, bigoted, taboo ridden, and myopic than other recognizably superstitious societies...

is patently untrue, unless you are talking about these interesting characters: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornwall_Alliance


The only basis for which I could see some truth in your statements such as the above would be if there is in fact a process of explanation for our natural world that is not recognizable through the scientific process. The other basis is that the "spiritual world" is not a part of our natural world, a parallel universe in other words. In these cases material evidence, or lack thereof, may be moot. But if not material what other evidence exists?

Which indicates prejudice on the part of science? Science works like building a house works and thus it is reasonable to follow the processes that are known for building a house, which hardly indoctrinates one into an inability to consider other means of habitation. So far however, the only ones seemingly capable of gaining habitation out of thin air might be the yogis up in the Gangotri but i understand there may be some explanation for that based in our understandings of physiology and psychology. I don't know but I bet Jan could elaborate on what is known about this.

Either way the fact remains. The scientist is not certain and the strength of his / her belief is based upon the strength of supportive evidence, which can change as knowledge evolves. That hardly requires prejudice as an ethic.

The spiritualist is certain and the strength of his / her belief is based upon faith and typically exists unchanged in the face of conflicting evidence. Prejudice is a required ethic. Just take a look at the teachings of werner Braun.

Anyway, even if its just societal outcomes that concerns you, vote for that which does the least damage.

Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 17, 2013 - 11:39am PT
Credit: Dr. F.
TomCochrane

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Mar 17, 2013 - 11:47am PT
[Those] who become interested in unusual phenomena tend to keep their interests quiet in order to avoid the scorn and ridicule of their colleagues.


thanks for the immediate confirmation of my assertions...



homework assignments:

The Road to Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe - Roger Penrose

Dark Energy, Does it really exist? - Scientific American April 2009

The Trouble with Physics, The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next - Lee Smolin

I Am a Strange Loop - Douglas Hofstadter

Science and Psychic Phenomena, The Fall of the House of Skeptics - Chris Carter

Entangled Minds, Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality - Dean Radin

The Science Delusion - Rupert Sheldrake

Spirit of the Rock - Ron Kauk



i rest my case
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 17, 2013 - 11:49am PT
The 50th Anniversary edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions has just come out. Here's part of the description.

With The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn challenged long-standing linear notions of scientific progress, arguing that transformative ideas don’t arise from the day-to-day, gradual process of experimentation and data accumulation but that the revolutions in science, those breakthrough moments that disrupt accepted thinking and offer unanticipated ideas, occur outside of “normal science,” as he called it. Though Kuhn was writing when physics ruled the sciences, his ideas on how scientific revolutions bring order to the anomalies that amass over time in research experiments are still instructive in our biotech age.


Plate tectonics was one such paradigm shift but there are many others.

At one point in the book, he even says that for new paradigms to be accepted, it is sometimes necessary for enough funerals of senior scientists to occur.
WBraun

climber
Mar 17, 2013 - 12:37pm PT
Bruce K -- "The spiritualist is certain and the strength of his / her belief is based upon faith ..."


Quit making up words and projecting them onto real spiritual knowledge.

It's based on "Science" not faith.

Faith is only there until it's established by the scientific process.

I told you before ..... "you have very poor understanding of the subject matter" ......
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 17, 2013 - 01:11pm PT
I told you before ..... "you have very poor understanding of the subject matter" ......


Yes I know you have told me before but you continue to apply your typical charm and astoundingly effective communication skills with not much to show for it. I assume your climbing skills are a bit more expert otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.
WBraun

climber
Mar 17, 2013 - 01:21pm PT
My climbing skills are completely useless in this conversation.

Just see again your poor understanding of the subject matter .....
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Mar 17, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
That was an analogy. Your response indicates your capacity for perception mirrors your communication skills. If you look at it again you will see that my statement about your climbing skills had little to do with your climbing skills and was a clear reference to your communication skills.

Anyway enough of that. Can you explain the validity of this statement?

Faith is only there until it's established by the scientific process.


Perhaps someone other than Werner can offer some critique regarding my observations on ethics and the role of faith in establishing fact?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 17, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Tom: Rupert Sheldrake

I've thrown out Sheldrake several times now and you completely ignored it. So all of a sudden Sheldrake is in fact on the table. Fine, then are you saying you buy into his overall proposition?
jogill

climber
Colorado
Mar 17, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
The Road to Reality, A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe - Roger Penrose

You've read this cover to cover, Tom? Wow, I'm impressed!

I go to my copy occasionally as a reference work. Reminds me a little of Wolfram's A New Kind of Science that came out some time ago. But Wolfram's book pushed his focus on cellular automata, which got a little old a short way in. I never heard of anyone who actually read the entire book. Penrose's book is more readable and more an explanation rather than a tome pushing a certain agenda. But the size (and some of the content) is intimidating, to say the least.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Mar 17, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mst3fOl5vH0

One of the most counterintuitive parts of the whole "spiritual" adventure thing - which is another word for adventures in perceptions and reality, including nothing-at-all - has to do with what is "real."

In short, people, places and things "out there," beyond the bubble of our own subjective awareness, are not inherently real, because what is "out there" is undifferentiated and boundless, and becomes a "thing," or something real only when our minds reify (map/quantify) it as such.

Ed said two telling things. One, the "maps" are real, and two, the relationship of the map to the territory is provisional.

In this sense, the "territory" is not a constant, changeless form existing separate from the mind, enduring exactly as it is mentally perceived and represented. What does exist separate from the territory are the maps, though we need our minds to create/discover and perceive said maps.

Put differently, our minds do not create the territory, which does exist, undiferentiated and limitless, "out there." But what we recognize as discrete and real "things" are simply our minds reifying the territory relative to the essential specs of our minds and our sense aperati.

In the Zen tradition the reifying process is made real for someone by (among other ways) meditating on the Koan, "What is the reality of the moving flag?" Somewhere in there you become witness to your mind waving the flag, that what we see is a mental representation, an ephemeral reflection of the moon, so to speak, in a bucket of rain.

David Boehm, an old teacher of mine, talked about this his own way in the clip above.

JL
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 17, 2013 - 07:25pm PT
OK. I see the moving flag. You are looking at the same flag. We agree, it's moving. Now you want to tell me its not real and only a construction of your mind? Why did my mind make the same construction then?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 17, 2013 - 07:36pm PT
There are numerous experiences in life which cause one to question what is real.

Living in a very different culture and speaking a language with a very different grammatical construction than one's own, is one such experience. The differences between the mystical world view and the scientific one are no greater than that between traditional Tibetan and modern American world views for example. Likewise, I am frequently brought up short by how absolutely different the Japanese world view is from ours even though both cultures share a modern scientific education and I've lived in Japan 30 years.

However, a person who knows two of those three cultures well, would never frame the differences in terms of which culture was real or even which culture was better.

Inevitably, when removed from familiar surroundings for long periods of time, an individual will have cause to ask, who is the real me? Their former culture or their current one? Or is it all a drama that one plays different roles in? And If one is only role playing, is there a real self, a true self behind the roles? If so, what or who is it?

All good training for practicing Zen.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 17, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
Bruce-

A lot of the questions you are raising were discussed several thousand contributions ago on this thread. We have already established that science, religion and spirituality are three separate entities represented by three distinct groups who contribute here - the scientists, the handful of mystics or spiritualists, and the religionists, all but one of whom are fundamentalist Christians.

A few of us are harder to classify as we have a foot in two or even three of these three worlds which seems to really irritate the true believers in only one world who see hope of a conversion and don't understand why, if we have part of the truth, we can't go all the way with it.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 17, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
Sorry if I'm screwing up your thread.
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 17, 2013 - 08:09pm PT
I wasn't referring to you but to Bruce Kay.

My apologies for screwing up the names

That's the second time now I've erroneously referred to him as Paul Kay.
The only thing I can think of is that I knew a Paul Kay once.
Aging memory banks I guess.

Continue with waving flags please.
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