Politics, God and Religion vs. Science


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Oct 23, 2013 - 12:45am PT
intellectual rigor successfully put a probe on the surface of Mars and built the tools used to find the Higgs-Boson

People been going to Mars since forever.

So what big credit goes to this wasted cave man epic so called probe.

Just plain stupid waste.

You steal everyone's hard earn money and then beat your chest.

Anyone can easily reach any planet with proper training.

No need for all this stupid junk you people make.

Higgs-Boson didn't do sh!t.

Keep beating your chest like the monkey you still are ....

You're still stupid as hell.

You can't even balance a budget, nor end a war, nor prevent all this other stupid garbage you've invented to kill us .....


Boulder climber
Oct 23, 2013 - 12:48am PT
People been going to Mars since forever (Duck)

This will take a while to sink in . . .

Oct 23, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
Well, Ok! :-)

Hey, I didn't make that stuff up. You can find the conversations about the inability to define any concept in the literature if you want. Murphy's book is a benchmark report on the subject of concept definition. Look it up. Or not.

Look around you. Do you see any big technological or social problems out there that we can't seem to agree upon or fix, or that continue to generate unintended consequences?

If science were to somehow succeed (and I mean as far as solving human problems once and for all), then things would be somehow getting better. We don't need more space stations or to determine Higgs-Boson. We seem to need implementing The Affordable Health Care Act, getting large forest fires under control, solving poverty, fixing upper and lower education systems, diminishing unemployment, pulling the economy out of the dumper, decreasing ADHD, decreasing terrorist incidents, stop waring on each other, and so on.

How come the world doesn't get better for mankind over time?

How come we can't come to a convergence about what anything is?

Yeah, all we need are better definitions. If we just had those, they would solve our most pressing problems.

There are two really good things about a scientific approach, which is all science really is (an approach). One, it encourages people to make careful systematic observations. Two, it actually fosters differences in beliefs and theories.

Unfortunately, people are so enamored and committed to their ideas, they can't believe their senses. Their theories and beliefs over-ride them. As for the second idea, the divergence of interpretations about anything in reality should encourage folks to take their own beliefs lightly and listen to and collaborate with others more empathetically. It should make folks more open. It doesn't and they aren't, least not this generation.

Science seems to be good on vision and poor on implementation when it comes to the bigger human pictures. (This might be the same problem the U.S. President has.)

Boulder climber
Oct 23, 2013 - 02:21pm PT
How come we can't come to a convergence about what anything is? (MikeL)

When my wife says, "let's get a new chair for the living room", I know what she means. We might then discuss style and price, but we both know what a chair is. Do you live on a different planet?

It's true that the concept of an electron changes over time and we lack certainty over just what it is, but that doesn't keep scientists from creating remarkable devices implementing the mathematical characteristics of the particle/wave. Progress is not brought to a standstill because our mental image of an object is vague. As Ed has said, we apply the math while it works, then change it when it doesn't. A "working definition" is all that's required.

Maybe I'm making your argument for you. But I'm not sure what your argument is.

Now, if your comment is meant to describe the social sciences it may be appropriate. I don't know enough there to comment.

Social climber
Albuquerque, NM
Oct 23, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
Aaaah... I see the problem. In your Quasi-Zen world-view, you see unresolved social problems as failures of scientists to "define", whereas reasonable people might see them for what they are: failures of so-called leaders to manage.

Oct 23, 2013 - 04:09pm PT

In the most general way, we all agree. It's raining, the sun is out, the stop light is red, etc. Yup, got that. But the closer we look at anything, which is what science is up to in order to explain how one or another thing happens, that's when the full agreement begins to disappear. Name your domain, and in the thickets and weeds, there is tremendous disagreement.

BTW, the wife and I are arguing about what an art piece I'm making should look like in our living room. (I haven't even started work on it yet!) Actually, we've had the same "conversations" about chairs and sofas, too. When we both said, "hey, let's get another chair for the den," we both said, "sure, let's do that!" That is . . . until we got down to it, and then agreement about "the chair" we had in mind needed to be negotiated.

The more general, the more agreement. The more specific, the less agreement.


I didn't bring the need for definitions up. You did.

Sport climber
Oct 23, 2013 - 04:12pm PT

Is this post a post on the "Politics, God and Religion vs. Science" thread of the Supertopo.com forum?
Yes? No? Maybe?

A quite spesific question isn't it?

Oct 23, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
Ha-ha. Thanks, Marlow.

It appears to be that, and more.

Oct 23, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Science seems to be good on vision and poor on implementation when it comes to the bigger human pictures.

A strange statement. Does science have intention? Science is a method, a culture, and a heritage, mainly directed toward answering specific questions about the physical world. The findings of science could be considered when people make decisions about human needs but science is not the decision-maker.

Human beings and the bigger picture they present lie largely outside science. As I've said before, here, I don't trust studies done on humans. Too many uncontrolled variables.

About the only place none of these problems show up is in theory--like in mathematics, for example.

More on definability in mathematics:


Yet mathematics can still be done.

Oct 24, 2013 - 02:11am PT
Does science have intention?

I think it presents a vision, no less than religion presents a vision--a vision of what the world is and how it should be approached. It presents a set of conditions about what is, how things work, and to some extent, where things are going--in a sense, a kind of intention. It doesn't have to be a "knowing intention." Cause-and-effect present a kind of intention within a particular vision. All fields of study present some kind of vision about the / a world.

Human beings and larger pictures lie largely outside science? Too many uncontrolled variables? Hmmmm, are you complaining that human beings are too complicated, or are you saying that human beings are not subject to the same laws of nature? I understand that you may not have faith in research studies involving human beings, but would they would not be subject to the same laws or principles of material?

Sorry, I'm not sure what you're saying here.

Are you saying that science does not imply or strongly influence decisions about human beings or their lives? What about cost-benefit analysis? What about the extent of effects of this or that technology on human life? The value of another space station? The worth of this or that pharmaceutical research project on human disease, or this or that program to eradicate HIV, or the usefulness of flipped classroom in primary education? Should I understand that you are claiming that science is valueless? That it makes no claims as to what is good or bad for mankind, for the environment, for societies at-large?

You're more idealistic than I am, MH2--and I'm so idealistic that I no longer buy into any of it. It's all emptiness to me. For me, science (and spiritualism) were the last pure pursuits that I thought one could support. Nowadays, it's all the same to me. No attraction and no aversion. There is only experience. That alone is the truth. There is nothing else. Everything else is a fantasy. To jgill, this makes me nihilistic and a sophist. I don't see it that way. I just see it as the truth. It's nothing to get excited or upset about.

Be well.

Oct 24, 2013 - 10:38am PT
Hmmmm, are you complaining that human beings are too complicated, or are you saying that human beings are not subject to the same laws of nature?

Curiouser and curiouser. Complaining about people being too complicated? The white lab coat gnashing teeth at the human soul always slipping out from under the microscope? Not me. Human beings are subject to gravitation but learned to fly. There are no "laws of nature" that will let you predict with certainty what a given individual is going to do.

I celebrate the complexity of the human, and the dog and cat and bee and lobster stomatogastric ganglion. And the bacterium. Science can only make decisions for us if we take ourselves out of the bigger picture. Listen to science, if you want to personify it, but don't let it bully you.

Oct 24, 2013 - 11:47am PT
I don't think I'm following you. I'm sure it's my fault. (BTW, "white lab coats" belongs to Werner; that's not my metaphor.)

Here's what's showing up for me in the exchange. You're saying something along these lines:

Objects can be explained and their effects predicted, and this is the domain of science. However, human kind must be made exempt. Science can inform decisions made by Man as long as human kind does not take itself out of the big picture. One CAN listen to science, but science should not *dictate* decisions when it comes to those decisions that have impacts on human kind.

Am I close?

If so, then,

(i) It is unclear how science and human kind should come to proper decisions. I would have thought that a scientist would want reason to dictate final decisions, but you might be suggesting that it's human kind that *should* make final determinations, even if they disagree with what science says.

(ii) Free will (the unpredictability of human actions and decisions that you refer to) seem to exist side-by-side with determinism in some way. While human kind may not be under the rule of cause-and-effect, all other material objects are.

(iii) While there may not be disagreement with measures in and of themselves, disagreements all turn on what human kind make of those measures (interpretations). (See the climate thread.) Hence, it would seem that interpretations constitute the dividing line between what is predictable and what is not--and connects them both. When Man makes decisions, the universe shifts from predictable cause-and-effect to one that has many possibilities.

In other words, what I sense from your writing is that there is some kind of bifurcation going on between a world of things that science describes (hard physical objects) and a world of human being (intentions, actions, consequences, meaning).

I could be wrong. If this strikes you as a dumb conversation, just ignore it.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Potemkin Village
Oct 24, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
What a shameful thread.
Dr. F.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
WRONG! Liberal bullsh#t.



I always dug your spirit, Werner. Never faltering, never changing, and never too smug.
Pure Delusion

More like "always so smug"

Dr. F.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2013 - 12:42pm PT
Credit: Dr. F.
More shame

Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 24, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
Well, one time Werner saved me from ending up in the Yosemite jail, so I owe him. He just said that the rangers were "Looking for your buddy."

That was enough. I should tell that story here someday. It is crazy wild.

I like to watch the science channel, and last night on "Wormhole" they were contemplating "nothing."

It was interesting, because at the start, Morgan Freeman talked about trying to imagine nothing when he was a kid but he couldn't free himself from his thoughts and senses to succeed. Since we started talking about this, I've tried it many times, and I have no luck. It is difficult indeed, and I recommend everyone try it. Just sit down, close your eyes, and try to empty your head. I can't stop thinking. At least I have a taste of what Largo and MikeL are trying to do. It isn't easy, as they have said.

I'm not really certain of where the inner voyage is headed for those who are following that path. I do know that for me, the beauty of the natural (or physical if you want to call it that) world has always been plenty for me.

I remember taking astronomy in college 25 years ago. Astronomy and Cosmology have gone through several upheavals since then.

A lot of the new cosmology is not that hard to understand from a lay standpoint, but it is fascinating. The universe is amazing. I wonder if those of you who concentrate on the Zen type path are missing something by not keeping up on scientific discoveries. Most people have no clue as to the nature of a Type 1 supernova, or the significance of them in measuring the expansion of the Universe. Cosmology is really exciting right now because of problems such as dark matter. Every time we humans have built a bigger telescope, we see more things. We get answers, but the questions and problems with old theories make it a very exciting time. You don't have to be a scientist to enjoy it.

Old theory doesn't fit the new observations. Everyone knows this, so solving the new problems are wild. Science is not fixed. You can't brush physical evidence under the rug.

Religion is "dead" theory. It is fixed and unchanging. As we discover more things about the natural world, conflicts can arise. I can understand why people are religious, but I can't understand how they reconcile physical fact with ancient descriptions. Evolution happened. The Earth is incredibly old. Our star is a common dwarf. We came from a tree shrew. These things are facts.

You can cling to your literal interpretations of ancient religious text all you like, but in those unfortunate circumstances where they conflict with myth, there is just no way around it. My advice is to just marvel at the universe and if you insist on believing in God, just enjoy it and say that this is the way God made things. There was no room for calculus in the bible.

There is nothing in any religious text that is going to make me change my mind over physical facts. I can't. It would be like saying 2 plus 2 equals 5.
PSP also PP

Trad climber
Oct 24, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
"Since we started talking about this, I've tried it many times, and I have no luck. It is difficult indeed, and I recommend everyone try it. Just sit down, close your eyes, and try to empty your head. I can't stop thinking. At least I have a taste of what Largo and MikeL are trying to do. It isn't easy, as they have said."

How does intentionly trying to pay attention to what you are doing and experiencing moment to moment(Zen style meditation) have anything to do with trying to empty your head of thinking? I sincerely doubt that is what MikeL and Largo are trying to do.

Trying to do that is like trying learn how to rock climb with snowshoes on because someone told you that is what everybody else does.


Social climber
An Oil Field
Oct 24, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
I'm not sure what JL and MikeL do. They have said many times that you need a guide or mentor or teacher.

For me, that is all academic. If they can prove that there is a soul which outlives the death of the body, then that would be an earth shattering discovery. Mainly because there is no physical evidence of this happening. Only allegories and old tales.

I have been thinking about something for JL and MikeL:

If, during your studies and mental voyaging, have you ever noticed anything that your instructor says is incorrect? Meaning, is this venture a rigid road with only one path that has been proven for a couple of thousand years, or do you make discoveries along the way that you came up with independently.

Notice that I don't toss JL and MikeL into any sort of religious category. They are flexing their mental muscles, and it has nothing to do with myth, or so I think.

I've always been interested in Buddhism for that reason: It requires no belief in a deity or magic. It is all there inside of your head.

As for their dismissive remarks about the meat brain, I'm going to finally get to see my good friend who just had the massive stroke. He is paralyzed on one side and has aphasia (inability to speak). I have another friend with aphasia, and his brain re-wired itself after his speech center was destroyed. He can talk quite well now. He doesn't have slurred speech or anything like that. He just can't find words to fit ideas.

This has me wondering if stroke victims no longer think in words. I often think in words. I'll ask the guy who had his stroke seven years ago.

They are all there inside that head. They just can't find words. Written OR spoken. It has been fascinating to watch him recover.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Oct 24, 2013 - 04:45pm PT

Sport climber
Oct 24, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Other forms:

"In his sleep he could hear the horses stepping among the rocks and he could hear them drink from the shallow pools in the dark where the rocks lay smooth and rectilinear as the stones of ancient ruins and the water from their muzzles dripped and rang like water dripping in a well and in his sleep he dreamt of horses and the horses in his dream moved gravely among the tilted stones like horses come upon an antique site where some ordering of the world had failed and if anything had been written on the stones the weathers had taken it away again and the horses were wary and moved with great circumspection carrying in their blood as they did the recollection of this and other places where horses once had been and would be again. Finally what he saw in his dream was that the order in the horse's heart was more durable for it was written in a place where no rain could erase it."

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