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  •  the "either/or" question is complex. (1+ / 0-)
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    vox humana

    from a logical perspective, the epistemologies would appear to be minimally orthogonal, based as they are on  faith versus evidence.  "You either drank the kool-aid, or you did not."

    However, the human mind is not designed specifically as a logical device, and can in fact hold two opposite views simultaneously.  For example, one split-brain patient denied the existence of god when the question was presented to the left brain, but asserted the existence of god when presented to the right brain. Kool-aid can be registered in half the brain only.  Interesting stuff, to say the least.  Possibly, this person was a Doubting Thomas prior to commissurotomy.  

    Dogmatic belief, too, is probably a universal expression, as no one can hold all the necessary proofs in their mind at once to support all of their beliefs, i.e., I assert that there is a certain amount of faith in the conduct of science.   I would also assert that scientists mythologize themselves as much as anyone.  Many of these issues are correctable by others, however, if faith and myth-making go south, which is a distinct advantage of science over the much more slowly adapting views of, say, the Catholic Church, which do change and adapt.

    So, while I agree with the gist of the comments, I do believe there are fundamental and non-trivial human facts that need to be taken into consideration, including the inherently irrational nature and limited capacities of humans that are shared by all.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 07:54:00 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Oh I agree on the 'human state' questions! (1+ / 0-)
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      Compound F

      As soon as we became self-cognizant, a probable first question is "why, why am I here?"
      The answer "No reason, no purpose, nothing after you die." is really really disconcerting to most of humanking.  I would suggest that is why most humankind will strive to find a reason.  Even if they have to make one up, which is exactly what I am suggesting that we have done.
      Reason for existance vs. no reason for existance.  Neither of these findings is more right than the other based on what we have observed, one answer is just more comfortable to our frail phyches, thats all.  Religion is based on a comfortable explanation.
      I would disagree, as a scientist, that I have to have some level of faith, faith being the beliefe in absence of evidence.  I have to have trust, trust that the work done before mine was carefull and accurate, because I will rely on that previous work to conduct my new work.  But that trust is based on personal experience, and personal; validation, not someone telling me to trust the unverifiable.

      Tell me how scientists "mythologize" themselves?

      You can't support the Constitution and the GOP at the same time!

      by Arsenic on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:16:03 PM PST

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      •  actual mythologizing may be too strong a claim, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vox humana

        but I have personally noted its cousin, laudatory hero-worship, in both myself and others, even in others having considerable prestige themselves; it's not unlike the way people idolize sports figures or rock stars, for example.

        I guess my main point was that if there is a trait in the general population, scientists have that trait as well.  It is the method, more than the actual humans that is corrective in science.

        We don't have time for short-term thinking.

        by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:16:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How kind. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Compound F

      What if it could be proven that ants could conceive of a life form higher than themselves? Alas, the experiments designed to prove such a hypothesis might be designed from a human point of view for us to believe or even understand them.

      What if a higher being (not myself or any other human) could design an experiment proving that there were those who could understand their higher being and others could not? What proof would be required on the human side? How would that reconcile with the idea of a potential "higher" intelligence?

      The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

      by vox humana on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 08:43:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My friend ( a higher being) might hypothesize (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vox humana

        that he is not a "higher being" than me.  We run a foot race; he wins.  We take cognitive tests; he scores higher.  According to those tests, we disprove that I am as high as he, leaving the alternative hypothesis that he is higher.  While I may never know exactly what it is like to be a higher being, I can still understand   on some basis that he is a higher being.  

        We don't have time for short-term thinking.

        by Compound F on Sun Nov 26, 2006 at 09:45:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry for the late reply, and I really should (0+ / 0-)

          stop. I love these types of discussions, and they almost never get done here at dKos because of the "man in the flowing robe" and "child abuse" garbage.

          Your experiments, of course, assume that the possession of feet and/or human cognition would be the realms in which this higher being could participate. Poor science, stuck in its anthropomorphic assumptions about reality (I jest - sort of).

          I have similar objections to many scientists' narrow definition of the possibility of life on other planets. The supposed necessity of certain elements or their equivalents be present in order to even bother looking for life automatically negates the possibility of discovering other life forms based on say, energy or gas. Human scientists seem unable to imagine how such life would behave (at least in the narrow set of books and articles I have read), and I imagine that partly has to do with the inability to design an experiment that could prove such were life forms. That has more to do with the failure of human scientific method than with the possibility that there is a reality out there that we simply can't capture with our limited imaginations and the limits of the materials of which we consist. I maintain there will always be things that cannot be proven that might exist. Indeed, that is one of the incredible powers of the human mind - not one of its failings!

          To my mind at this point, science is involved in pushing human thought to the highest limits of its ability to understand the natural world. Religion's concern is the ability to imagine that there might be phenomena outside that realm. Those could not be proven with science (indeed, that would counter the whole point), so the constant argument back and forth is pointless in my mind.

          Anyhow, thanks for listening. The way some people wrap up so many distinct concepts into handy ideological packages would try the patience of Job. Not that I could prove that.

          ;8)  ~

          The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

          by vox humana on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:32:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  one day later... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            vox humana

            We can imagine other forms of life and consciousness.      Don't underestimate scientists unnecessarily.

            My answer was the simplest I could manage in short space.  It does answer your rather complex question in short space, though possibly not in the way you wanted.

            We don't have time for short-term thinking.

            by Compound F on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 11:43:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Maybe. (0+ / 0-)

              I understand Brian Greene at Columbia (among others) is working on the math and physics behind the very real possibility of creating man-made universes in the future.

              Perhaps much to our mutual astonishment, this would confirm one of the basic tenets of Mormon theology. Who knew?

              The law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth: the wicked compass about the righteous and wrong judgment proceedeth - Habakkuk 1:4

              by vox humana on Mon Nov 27, 2006 at 04:02:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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