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  1. #46
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I am not sure I fully understand your point here.

  2. #47
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    Play some more video games instead, Kahn!

    I Will, if you stop waxing philosophical and go and write a bloody book!

    Last edited by kahnovitch; April 6th, 2005 at 02:04 PM.

  3. #48
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I already have four completed and one about halfway done in this series. How many of them have you read, Kahn??????

  4. #49
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    Whales and fish share superficial similarities as well, HE, but that doesn't make them the same species. Science and religion are both human claim-making institutions, and as such they share all the things human claim-making institutions share. You're not so much making an argument as you're pointing to the obvious and drawing an entirely unwarranted conclusion: that they are essentially the same.

    But you have to explain away the obvious differences to do that, which you've yet to do - for what I think is an obvious reason: they are about as different as any two human claim-making institutions can be.

    Science is the most powerful instrument of discovery in the history of mankind, period. On the other hand, we humans have cooked up thousands of distinct religions over thousands of years. Nothing more than socialization and authority seems to fix the claims of any of them, which is why the Pope, had he been born in Mecca, would almost certainly have been a Muslim. Science, on the other hand...

  5. #50
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Science on the other hand blatantly ignores what it cannot fathom.
    If I was born in the US I would believe that medicines - sic chemicals - are the solution to all medical problems. If I was born in China I might understand that something good medically speaking is happening with acupuncture and chiropracty but in the US, science, i.e., the AMA will label me as a quack.
    Most life processes are non-linear but non-linear equations are more trouble then they are worth so we will all walk down Einstein's path absolutely certain that the linear equations we propound actually describe what is happening in the world.
    We will listen to the essence of Complementarity and then dismiss its implications as we derive more and more linear equations about events that are fundamentally changed by the attempt to observe them.
    We will read Godel's Incompleteness Theorem and then presume itis implications do not apply to science itself.
    And then we will rage at the nerve of those who might question the foundations of our knowledge.
    Success-to-date is an argument that works for all the bases of belief. We have a constitution that came from a non-scientific base and it works pretty good. We have a form of entertainment that works on a non-scientific basis and we enjoy the books. movies, and TV shows that spring from that suspension-of-belief system.
    Every belief system has a base, including science. I find some bases useful on a day-to-day basis; I find technology useful on a day-to-day basis, too; but I find no belief system able to cover all the bases, and so I am unwilling to take sides in a competitive comparison. I recognize that many - maybe even most - folk will not agree with me. I also recognize that I will not agree with many - maybe even most - folk. I just go my merry way attempting to follow the maxim: question authority. Always, everywhere, question authority.

  6. #51
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    I was born in the USA and I don't believe that medecine cures everything. In fact, experience has taught me that it doesn't. In fact, bad medecine killed my father. I go for acupuncture and do yoga. But then again, I tend to question things when the results of my endeavours are not what I hope for. Fortunately, I read and I reason. Specific scientific beliefs that we hold today may very well be modern man's faith, and we may learn this as time goes by. But it is the process of science that will teach us this. Religious faith does not question itself. There is no process by which it examines itself. It is faith.

  7. #52
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    I already have four completed and one about halfway done in this series. How many of them have you read, Kahn??????
    Whoa!

    Deja-Vu!

    I remember the last time I answered a question like that, the answer didn't go down too well.

    So let's just let it lie this time.

  8. #53
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Wink

    Refresh my memory?

    That's the funny problem with internet talk. You can't tell what anyone's true sentiments are from the posts alone. I used to always type in caps until someone asked me to please stop yelling at them. I hope you didn't take my last comment to you as if I was pissed in any way. It wasn't meant that way at all. I should use emotocons more often.

  9. #54
    Kiss my axe! kahnovitch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    Refresh my memory?
    Ask "The Bear".
    Last edited by kahnovitch; April 8th, 2005 at 09:25 AM.

  10. #55
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Smile

    I would guess that Matt's and my response to things would be quite different. Did you insult him? As we all know, he has such a fragile ego and it's often hard for him to express himself when he's upset over something. He just tends to suffer silently.

  11. #56
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Wassner
    Religious faith does not question itself.
    I find that not entirely accurate. I remember Vatican II; I know the churches in the US meet regularly to discuss who they are and why. Seems like it was only a few ago they decided in favor of women priests and bishops. As for Roman Catholicism, besides the Vatican II, there have been as a partial list:
    1. The First General Council of Nicaea, 325
    2. The First General Council of Constantinople, 381
    3. The General Council of Ephesus, 431
    4. The General Council of Chalcedon, 451
    5. The Second General Council of Constantinople, 553
    6. The Third General Council of Constantinople, 680-81
    7. The Second General Council of Nicaea, 787
    8. The Fourth General Council of Constantinople, 869-70
    9. The First General Council of the Lateran, 1123
    10. The Second General Council of the Lateran, 1139
    11. The Third General Council of the Lateran, 1179
    12. The Fourth General Council of the Lateran, 1215
    13. The First General Council of Lyons, 1245
    14. The Second General Council of Lyons, 1274
    15. The General Council of Vienne, 1311-12
    16. The General Council of Constance, 1414-18
    17. The General Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence, 1431-45
    18. The Fifth General Council of the Lateran, 1512-17
    19. The General Council of Trent, 1545-63
    20. The First General Council of the Vatican, 1869-70

    So, I spose I'd have to say the mechanism exists and is used.
    Last edited by Hereford Eye; April 6th, 2005 at 02:41 PM.

  12. #57
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    You still haven't actually addressed the question, HE. How do you explain the profound differences between science and religion as claim-making institutions?

    Success-to-date is an argument that works for all the bases of belief. We have a constitution that came from a non-scientific base and it works pretty good. We have a form of entertainment that works on a non-scientific basis and we enjoy the books. movies, and TV shows that spring from that suspension-of-belief system.
    I didn't know the constitution was a theory. Either way, the types and the extent of the success involved are quite different. But it's so much more than 'success,' or practical efficacy. The list of theoretical virtues enjoyed by science is very long. Are you suggesting it's not the most powerful instrument of discovery in human history? If so, please give me an example of a human claim-making institution that has accomplished any remotely approaching science's rewriting of the world.

    The ironic thing about all this, as Gary knows, is that I hate science. But at the same time, I don't think we do ourselves any favours by arguing against strawman appraisals of its power, or dismissals on philosophical grounds.

    I'm a skeptic through and through, but at the same time I think it's obvious that not all claims are equal. What that means is that I look at the mountain of all the claims we humans have ever made and I ask myself, out of all of these, which ones seem to have some legs. When it comes to theoretical truth-claims, philosophy is an obvious disaster, and religion is even a more obvious disaster. When it comes to reliability, efficacy, comprehensiveness, consilience, progressiveness, there's absolutely nothing that comes close. When it comes to knowledge (as opposed to rank opinion - because there is a difference) science really is the only game in town, flaws and all. I don't want it to be this way, but it is. The fact that it doesn't answer all our questions is neither here nor there, since it's not clear that anything answers those questions. That's the dilemma of modernity. Scientific controversies are the only controversies that can be definitively resolved without recourse to socialization or brute force. The science done in Mecca is pretty much the same as the science done in Rome or in Las Vegas.

    So to recap, HE, there's three questions I think you need to answer in order to convincingly press your point:

    1) Are all claims equal, and if not, what distinguishes better claims from worse claims?
    2) If science isn't the most powerful instrument of discovery in human history, what claim-making institution beats it?
    3) How do you explain the profound differences between science and religion as claim-making institutions?

  13. #58
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    So, I spose I'd have to say the mechanism exists and is used.
    Um, some twenty times in one thousand and six hundred years. This is one of those counter-examples than inadvertantly proves the point!

  14. #59
    BookWyrm Archren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye
    Most life processes are non-linear but non-linear equations are more trouble then they are worth so we will all walk down Einstein's path absolutely certain that the linear equations we propound actually describe what is happening in the world.
    Just a pipe up from the working scientist community: I wish we could ignore non-linear equations! If we could then a trained monkey could do my job. But since we can't, I have to go through lots & lots of school to figure out how to do things in the real world. You should see the rather large stack of textbooks I have dealing with all things non-linear. Thrill a minute, I'll tell ya.

  15. #60
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Dang, this is fun!
    1) Are all claims equal, and if not, what distinguishes better claims from worse claims?
    Given that the question begs the "1 + 1 = ?" case mentioned previously, my answer is that, yes, all claims are equal if they satisfy the need the claimant had when making the claim. Can't compare apples and oranges, can you? Must take apples in the context of the tree they grew on and oranges the same. It's not a competition as to who has the "correct" answer; it's a question if the answer serves its purpose.

    2) If science isn't the most powerful instrument of discovery in human history, what claim-making institution beats it?
    Do we get use the entire world or we confined to Eurocentric science? If we get to include China, the rest of the Far, Southeast and the Middle East as part of the history of science, then I'll accept science as the most powerful instrument of discovery. If we are limited to Eurocentric science, then, no, I'd rank the accomplishments of the rest of the world right up there with modern science because without the rest of the world, it couldn't have happened.

    3) How do you explain the profound differences between science and religion as claim-making institutions? Profound differences in agenda or mythos or faith, whichever term suits you best.

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