The New "Religion Vs Science" Thread

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High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 1, 2018 - 08:52am PT
Your post seems a fair recapitulation of Enlightenment as described in Pinker's Enlightenment Now. For Nature or the study of nature, Pinker substituted Science as a core component of the movement or set of ideals together with Reason, Humanism and Progress. Pinker's the last person, however, to support the naturalistic fallacy (if it's nature, it must be good) or the noble savage principle.

naturalistic fallacy (aka appeal to nature)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalistic_fallacy

noble savage
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage

In your post you say, iyo, Pinker's on weak ground. How so?

There is a very broad spectrum of post-modern concerns, values, objectives, complaints, notions.

But most of all, what I'd really like to read is a recapitulation of postmodernism as you understand it (in the manner of your recap of Enlightenment above); also, a defense of postmodernism as you grok it particularly in relation to our modern current scientifically grounded 21st c understanding of things; and last but not least in what ways it provides a better (edit: good if not excellent) lens or framework either in regards to making sense of how the world works or how life ought to be lived at its many scales that makes you its primary adherent or proponent here at ST and most significantly, often it seems, and in a most relentlessly contrarian manner, at the expense of Science and Enlightenment ideals.

For the record, you have self-identified as a postmodernist. Correct?

Pinker’s assessments seems historically and academically ungrounded.

If you've actually read Enlightenment Now - as opposed to just having read critiques in reviews from his critics (btw, mostly from the humanities of far left liberal colleges) - I'd be interested in hearing where and on what points (specific egs with supporting detail) he's mistaken either in understanding, attitude or outlook.

Thanks in advance. No rush. I'll be out for the weekend.

...

Now wait a minute scientists where the heck does the idea that slavery and discrimination are wrong come from? What is the source?

The source? Certainly not the Abrahamic God of Islam and Christianity. (Jehovah's his name, I think.)

...

"and please remember people, that no matter who you are, and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there are still some things that make us all the same. You, me, them, everybody, everybody."

:)
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 1, 2018 - 04:16pm PT
HFCS,

Civility. Yay.

I don’t think I can help you very much. Wikipedia provides a taste of the issues, but you’ll note the summaries in the many sections (various arts, philosophies, sciences, etc.) do not all emphasize the same things. The ideas are loosely constellated. And, of course, I am no expert on the matter.

I am not a postmodernist, per se, but I’ve written things that could be put into that camp. I am no expert under the label. I don’t think there is a well-defined domain of postmodernism. The ideas are very broad and varied (as I wrote).

I posted to Jan the following incomplete set of -isms or views that would share some sensibilities. To her I listed:

. . . grounded theory; symbolic interactionism; ethnomethodology; phenomenology; conversation analysis; inductive ethnology; hermeneutics of many, many flavors; critical theory; poststructuralism; deconstruction; discourse analysis; feminism; genealogy—to name a few. All of these question the authority of interpretations.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1593650&msg=3088747#msg3088747

I am not a postmodernist, imo. I resist categorizations and labels. If I *had to* choose a label, I would say that I am a “radical spiritualist” (which sounds pretty hokey to my ear). I most prefer Werner’s articulations: that is, the mechanism of what we’ll call the mind projects images and then perceives those images as real and concrete.

Postmodernism could be said to be a rejection to all that is modernism: reason, progress, dualistic polarities, authorities, single points of views, grand theories, male-dominations, structural arguments, objectivities, advanced cultural points of view (usually Western), interpretations, economic or social convergences, absolutism, the natural progression of histories, consensual collectivities, sureties or certainties, ideologies, unities, even notions of beauty and morality. Seen so, much postmodern approaches have undermined (intentionally) the Enlightenment and other modern projects. Reason, positivistic investigations into Nature, and strong beliefs in progress do not seem to be getting us where we want to be. There doesn’t seem to be a modern (or even postmodern) narrative that we can take comfort in. Everything everywhere looks to be fragmented, partialized, somewhat random and increasingly so.

Postmodernism is not a theory or a story; it is a criticism of what seemed to be rather optimistic narratives that various authorities were providing—whether that be politically, artistically, socially, psychologically, spiritually (yes, that too), philosophically (metaphysically, ontologically, teleologically, epistemologically) and so on. I guess it could be fair to say that the world implied by postmodern criticism leaves one with no ground under our feet.

On the other hand, some interesting presentations have resulted from so-called postmodern authors. You can see it in everyday advertisements, in graphic arts, in movies and new-age tv shows (especially in science fictions), and even in research studies. When we mash-up ideas outside of their domains with those from other domains, when we mix images into collages, when we highlight images or ideas without contexts, when we import or export concepts into foreign domains, when we radicalize the assumptions of cultures playfully, when we rejoice in randomness, then we are being postmodern or seeing the effects of minds that are rejecting single grand narratives.

Nietzsche started this whole mess, imo. Grand narratives and modernism can be very comforting to folks, and those grand narratives come in many varieties. Sadly, they all appear to be false and misleading.

I apologize to you for not providing any better explanation. I’m sure you have a great deal to read in front of you. Charles Jencks would be a fun and easy-to-read source to start understanding what postmodernism has to say because he started his conversation about the issue in architecture, so there are many images that can communicate the notions of postmodernism beyond what a text can provide. On the other hand, there are a few people who claim that postmodernism is dead, replaced by post-postmodernism (whatever that might be).

Be well.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Ashland, Oregon
Jun 1, 2018 - 04:23pm PT
Civil discourse.

Yay!
jogill

climber
Colorado
Jun 1, 2018 - 05:36pm PT
TNT's Legion might be an example. Very confusing and disjointed with crazy imagery, but still watchable (with Dan Simmons). Probably a lot easier for young people to follow.
WBraun

climber
Jun 1, 2018 - 06:10pm PT
Postmodernism was started by the gross materialists fool Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche said "God is dead"

If God is dead then you are dead because the living entity is part parcel of God.

Nietzsche is an idiot mental speculator with no real knowledge.

We can easily see the fools who follow Nietzsche because their consciousness (soulless) is dead.

Thus a person holding religious or traditional consciousness is now considered backward and ignorant by the likes of the brainwashed liberal postmodernist HFCS
while he considers himself an enlightened postmodernist being thru modern science, Pinker & Harris masquerading themselves as some authoritative consciousness on this planet.

What a huge bunch of egomaniacs.

And thus science has moved into the destructive realm of gross materialism masquerading itself as postmodernism .......
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Jun 3, 2018 - 08:30am PT
^^^ I suspect every generation, every culture, every civilization, has to go through it's own rejection, adoption and revival of all that has gone on before it.

Each lands in a different spot with "the old ways are the best ways."

Each person, each culture, each civilization trims the budget as it were and cuts away this or that, and passes on what is left. The remaining balance of "old ways' have got to us, in a sense, by natural selection, survival of the fittest. Not physical things, but ideas; traditions and social behaviors.

Rejection, adoption, revival - it seems we humans go through this in the trajectories of our own personal growth too.

Patterns of life, patterns in the fabric of the universe.

DMT
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
Jun 3, 2018 - 09:24am PT

I'm thankful that WBraun knows more about God than he knows about Nietzsche. Go do you study, fool... ;o)
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jun 3, 2018 - 03:12pm PT

I haven't been following this thread but I thought this might be interesting. I'm not promoting the guys position (a Jesuit astronomer) and don't support his view 100%.... maybe not even 50%.... but worthwhile take in any case.

High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 4, 2018 - 10:40am PT
"For the record, you have self-identified as a postmodernist. Correct?" -me

MikeL wrote,
I am not a postmodernist, per se...

Are you not self-identifying as a postmodernist here? in the following post dated 2jan2017...

"Enter the postmodern, artistic soul.

Postmodernism has always been cultural and aesthetic. The postmodernist tends to seek and find enchantment in life. Postmodernists’ interests concern a sense of fashion, often focusing on images, styles, tropes, etc. The individual is encouraged to become fragmented, rather than conform to one monotheistic being or another, or to act with consistent reasons in every moment. Instead, we would rather transcend all monotheisms and live each moment without the “dominance of any one regime of truth.” We see no one lifestyle—only living to the thrill of the current here and now. Postmodern subjects (i.e., me) hence becomes de-centered, groundless, and polytheistic (seeing gods and goddesses in everything). I see the individual (me, others that I know well) embedded as products in discourses and practices, but not necessarily centered in them. (Life is messy.) Postmodernists place value on being interesting rather than right, and we place high value on paradox, contrast, counter-intuition, relevance, and indeterminancy." -MikeL

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1593650&msg=2925776#msg2925776

There's more as I recall. But it's a busy day.

...

This should be interesting...
The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/business/dealbook/review-the-book-of-why-examines-the-science-of-cause-and-effect.html


Everyone knows the crow of the c*#k causes the sun to rise. Don't they?

...

The Defeat of Reason, Tim Maudlin

"People are gullible. Humans can be duped by liars and conned by frauds; manipulated by rhetoric and beguiled by self-regard; browbeaten, cajoled, seduced, intimidated, flattered, wheedled, inveigled, and ensnared. In this respect, humans are unique in the animal kingdom."


"Einstein was the great anti-positivist. His position is often called realism, but a better name is perhaps common sense. Einstein believed that there is a real, objective, mind-independent physical world, and that the goal of physics is to describe that world. Mere prediction, no matter how precise, is not enough: explanation is the goal."

"Becker sets up the Solvay showdown skillfully. In the conventional story, Einstein, once the radical, has aged into a conservative who cannot abide the idea that God plays dice. Desperate for determinism, he challenges Bohr with a thought experiment designed to show the untenability of Bohr’s contention that you cannot do better—even in principle—than probabilistic predictions. The necessity of probabilism was encoded in the Heisenberg uncertainty relations, which assert that the better one can predict one aspect of a system (e.g., its position), the worse one can predict another (e.g., its momentum). Einstein’s thought experiment comes as a shock, but after a tense night Bohr hits on the solution and refutes Einstein with his own brainchild: the general theory of relativity. A showdown for the ages. Einstein, defeated, drifts into crankhood, never more doing significant physics."

"Here Becker begins his exposé. He shows that every single detail of the standard account of the Solvay Conference is untrue. Einstein was not concerned with saving determinism. His example was not designed to refute the uncertainty relation. And most critically, Bohr did not win, he lost".

http://bostonreview.net/science-nature-philosophy-religion/tim-maudlin-defeat-reason

https://www.amazon.com/What-Real-Unfinished-Meaning-Quantum/dp/0465096050/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528243637&sr=8-1&keywords=adam+becker+what+is+real

...

Isaiah Berlin
A Message to the 21st Century

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/10/23/message-21st-century/
paul roehl

Boulder climber
california
Jun 4, 2018 - 11:11am PT
Everyone knows the crow of the c*#k causes the sun to rise. Don't they?

Yes, it's every bit as ridiculous as the notion that the sun rises.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 11, 2018 - 12:47pm PT
Speaking generally, has anyone besides me noticed how much religion has taken a back seat to science and politics and social media just in the last ten years? in America?

(I mean, apart from the guy-leader in Christendom a few weeks back who requested his followers gift him $30M for a jet for his missionary work.)

Talk about trends. Trending quickly. Wow. Anyone who pays attention to this sort of thing can't help but be stunned by the changes, the evolution, that's underway.

...

This is an excellent trailhead and trail into what I'm talking about right here...

Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.
David Eagleman


https://www.amazon.com/Incognito-Secret-Lives-David-Eagleman/dp/0307389928/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528747809&sr=8-1&keywords=Incognito
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 11, 2018 - 01:08pm PT
One of the cruel myths purported here and in other places is that technology is is some way our redeemer, that once "superstition" is supplanted with a revised set of facts and figures fashioning a "real" and modern view of reality, and of modern man, we are good to go.

The recent spike in suicide rates tell quite a different story (for any of us who favor quantifications).

Credit: Largo
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 11, 2018 - 01:29pm PT
One of the cruel myths purported here and in other places is that technology is is some way our redeemer...

So I'm not one of these purporters; or purveyors.

One of the cruel aspects of Nature is that adaptation, evolution by natural selection, is unforgiving; it's a hard row to hoe.

Science shouldn't be impugned for describing this process, many think. Nor general education either.

We're being tested, no doubt. Just how committed are we to sciescence (gain of knowledge), to science (as means to this gain), to education (in particular, to an true and authentic understanding of human functioning at all scales)?

What's unsettling: What might very well emerge out from the other side of all this - after any number of ecological boom and bust cycles - is a Homo superbus replacing Homo sapiens. Who can say?

If anything's the culprit, it's nature, imo, not science. When science is doing its job it's "just" reflecting/depicting nature/reality "as is".

How humanity adapts will be our fate.

...

re: 1 suicide rates 2 spikes in suicide in middle aged


Food for thought: 1. In light of modern understanding, maybe a myth/custom that needs re-evaluating - and is being re-evaluated - is the desire/habit to live decades past retirement age/ years and years past the onset of the doldrums. 2. Maybe letting go sooner wouldn't be such a horrible concept/thing if modern Western culture wasn't so socialized (so acculturated) to the alternative? if more Westerners were naturalists instead of theists (just the way the trend is currently going)?

In my eyes, it is most fundamentally nature - along with its underlying rule set - that is the culprit here - insofar as there is one. As others have said, we are living things, souls or spirits or sentient beings, along for the ride... participants, players, prisoners, passengers... whatever your preferred term or take.

And who's to say Anthony Bourdain, as smart as he was, didn't have this view? and who's to say he wasn't of the view that he's simply had enough, seen enough, and that quitting while you're ahead is not the same thing as quitting?

I think our age is challenged by these Big Life Questions more than any other and I think they won't be going away. I also think our future is more unpredictable than ever. Which at times is so damn scary I'm surprised we are not all bipolar.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Jun 11, 2018 - 01:50pm PT
I liked your response HFCS.

One of the cruel aspects of Nature is that adaptation, evolution by natural selection, is unforgiving; it's a hard row to hoe.

Science shouldn't be impugned for describing this process, many think. Nor general education either.

I would add: Nor should science be considered outside of or immune to, natural selection.


What's unsettling: What might very well emerge out from the other side of all this - after any number of ecological boom and bust cycles - is a Homo superbus replacing Homo sapiens. Who can say?

I think it is fairly certain that something different will emerge from homo sapiens, given time.

If anything's the culprit, it's nature, imo, not science.

Saying nature is the culprit of natural selection (with respect to the outcomes of science or any other natural process) is akin to saying physics is the culprit that explodes stars and assigns gravity. :)

science is doing its job it's "just" reflecting/depicting nature/reality "as is".

ie identify and understanding the cards we are dealt, insofar as possible.

How humanity adapts will be our fate.

It will be their fate, not ours. :) Ours is already cast. I've learned to abandon 'we' when it comes to 'them.'

DMT
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jun 11, 2018 - 02:31pm PT
If anything's the culprit, it's nature, imo, not science. When science is doing its job it's "just" reflecting/depicting nature/reality "as is".
---


Except "as is" is not, at bottom, what we observe. Boiled down - since reductionism is the method of choice in both the internal and external investigations - all that we see and measure is comprised of energy quanta that bursts in and out of existence sans cause and from nothing at all. There is no fundamental "stuff" upon which our observable world rests. No foundation, no material.

My take is that human harmony derives from our seamless connection to the whole damn thing and everyone in it, and the more we trust technology to provide that connection, the more people will keep killing themselves. And that's not likely to change with "new data." There is not time in history when a person can avail themselves of more
more scientific information, or has a more accurate understanding of the material world. That information, as I see it, is in the service of mankind. When misguided people place faith in information as an end it itself, or as a map to understanding humanity, the map and the info can in many cases be a fatal compass per who we are and what makes life worthwhile.

My mental picture of the next suicide victim is the person with their phone jammed in their face, living their life 3rd person, enmeshed as they are to a digital version of reality. The map has become their life. We're lucky enough to have climbing and the outdoors to fit back into the rhythm of things. Many are not so lucky.

Much of this derives from our intentions. If our intention is to discover as much of the truth about ourselves as we can, both internal and external investigations seem to boil down to nothing at all. If that nothing turns out to be everything as well - little as that might lake logical sense to us at first blush - then getting jiggy with it might be Nature's challenge as Fruity stated.
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 11, 2018 - 05:07pm PT
HFCS: "For the record, you have self-identified as a postmodernist. Correct?”

To wit, I answered that I don’t consider myself a registered postmodernist, but then again, I’m favorable to many of the positions taken by people who write or talk in that vein.

What specific ideas, values, or norms of behavior do you want to talk about?

I sense that you believe people who share postmodern sentiments are wrong, stupid, ignorant, or evil?
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
Jun 11, 2018 - 05:25pm PT
It would be interesting also, to see a similar map showing various drug addictions, the other main way our society gets through the day.

I think it is a mistake however, to project the American malaise on the rest of humanity. We are particularly susceptible to this kind of ennui because of our combination of individualism, competitiveness and technology. Other advanced countries have abandoned organized religion more or less but they still have intact families, a sense of belonging to a social class, more benign work conditions and benefits, more of a common culture, and a couple thousand years of civilization which is present as a daily reminder in their architecture and smaller, more walkable cities.

We in turn have destroyed all those props, mistakenly thinking that getting rid of all social constraints would make us freer and therefore happier. In the words of the '60's song, freedom means nothing left to lose.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
Jun 12, 2018 - 07:31am PT
MikeL, first things first. (1) Does your post above which I quoted from you - from your post of jan 2017 (see link) - express your stance/view re postmodernism or not? (2) In this piece are you not self-identifying as a postmodernist?
MikeL

Social climber
Southern Arizona
Jun 12, 2018 - 07:42am PT
Yes, Jan, that would be an interesting metric and comparison to make.

I guess I’m going to get dinged again by HFCS for being postmodern, but it can’t be all bad. As we seem to look over history, we might see that our consciousness is evolving. The problems we must deal with don’t seem to really go away (they seem to morph into more sophisticated issues), but the (our) species has, for the most part, finally separated the individual from the collective philosophically or ideologically, and now must learn how to live in peace with others individually. It’s a conundrum that challenges our beliefs and values. We want to be individualized, yet we see that to be efficient, effective, and harmonious, we must tweak our autonomy and will with each other to find peace.

The so-called younger generation (ala, millennials, and that next cohort coming of age) has found some “solutions” of their own to the conundrum, even though from our point of view it looks dysfunctional. I think they value community far more broadly and far less strictly than we do. At least that’s what I think I saw from my students. I didn’t find them very political, and their philosophies seemed to be more laissez faire than any I or my cohort took to heart. They seem to be more tolerant of differences than we are, and they seem to be much more globally oriented than nationalistic or locally oriented. It’s not all bad.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Jun 12, 2018 - 07:45am PT
It’s not all bad.

This sentiment about millennials drives me round the bend. To anyone uttering it I say, take a good long look in the generational mirror before casting stones on another generation (that hasn't even come into it's own yet).

DMT
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