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The relationship between science and religion
has been artificial since DesCartes 0
is a dichotomy 3
can be seen holisticly if we remove ourselves from the constraints of each discipline 0
all of the above 3
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This is about science, religion, and philosophy:new member
Posted: 25 September 2008 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Thanks!  I posted that on another blog a while ago.
Don

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Posted: 25 September 2008 07:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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complexifier - 25 September 2008 05:17 PM

The idea of an infinite regression of causal entailment is worse than an “unknown”.  It is clearly a bad model.

How can you get from “unknown” to “a god did it” though? I seriously doubt that’s a possible rational conclusion. If the model sucks, then you have an unknown result. You can’t really conclude “God did it”, you have to presume.

No?

Byron

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Posted: 25 September 2008 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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complexifier - 25 September 2008 06:47 PM

1. Reductionist science is based on the idea that you best understand a complex real system by simplifying it to smaller parts, ultimately to atoms and molecules. 

The antithesis is the concept that the whole is more than and often different from the mere sum of its parts.  Breaking a system down necesarily looses something.  This “something” is as ontologically real as are atoms and molecules.

2.  The answer is that we loose information we need to understand systems when we follow reductionist methods.

3.  The real limits to reductionist thought are recognized by all scientists in at least some instances.  They would not try to predict the behavior of an interacting system using ideas or equations based on the behavior of its components in isolation.  Chaotic dynamics put the final nail into the coffin.  It results out of the very same equations used to describe the system in a non chaotic realm.  All that needs be done is tune a parameter and chaotic dynamics results.  The model now can no longer be “fit” to data as before.

That sounds like “if there’s something we don’t understand, our methods or process are flawed.” In other words, “we don’t know, but we have to produce an answer anyway.” or “we refuse to accept unknowns.”

When systems interact they’re not in isolation, they become systemic to each other, so the idea that you would consider one or another in isolation in order to understand the whole doesn’t sound like a rational approach, and I have to doubt that’s a fair explanation of reductionism, but in any case it’s not a good description of the scientific process.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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That sounds like “if there’s something we don’t understand, our methods or process are flawed.” In other words, “we don’t know, but we have to produce an answer anyway.” or “we refuse to accept unknowns.”

When systems interact they’re not in isolation, they become systemic to each other, so the idea that you would consider one or another in isolation in order to understand the whole doesn’t sound like a rational approach, and I have to doubt that’s a fair explanation of reductionism, but in any case it’s not a good description of the scientific process.

Here’s one definition:
http://www.answers.com/topic/reductionism

and here’s another:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism
as you will see they are not very different than mine.

As for the comment about interacting systems, I never said that I thought the reductionist approach was good science. That’s precisely my point.

My field’s of science are:
Network Thermodynamics (My book is entitled: Applications of Network Thermodynamics to Probems in Biomedical Engineering and in it you will see many examples of what I am speaking about.  We have large computer models for all sorts of physiological systems, pharmacology, cancer chemotherapy, etc.  etc.  They all are limited by being reductionist in nature.  Nevertheless they are state of the art or better.),Neurophysiology, Membrane biophysics, and
Complexity theory.  I do have some understanding of the workings of science.

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Posted: 25 September 2008 10:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Hi complexifier, welcome to the forum.  I’m particularly interested in your posts.  Have you looked into the autopoietic theorizing of Maturana and Varela?

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Posted: 25 September 2008 10:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Hi complexifier, welcome to the forum.  I’m particularly interested in your posts.  Have you looked into the autopoietic theorizing of Maturana and Varela?

  I have read their work and was referee for some of it.  I also have written reviews.  I find that they, like so many others, are on the edge of really making the leap beyond mechanism to complexity, but they are not able to cut loose.  That does not hurt their notion of an autopoietic unity which is basically our “organsim” but it did prevent them from seeing the important distinction between it and mechanisms.

Thanks for the kind welcome.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 12:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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“The antithesis is the concept that the whole is more than and often different from the mere sum of its parts.”

What is a “mere sum”?
Are all “parts” just numbers on the real line?
Or are scientists saying that is what all “parts” are?

[ Edited: 26 September 2008 12:40 AM by arildno]
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Posted: 26 September 2008 04:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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complexifier - 26 September 2008 01:55 AM

As for the comment about interacting systems, I never said that I thought the reductionist approach was good science. That’s precisely my point.

Yes, it is, I know. My point is that I’m skeptical that what you’re claiming is the scientific approach is actually an accurate and complete characterization.

complexifier - 26 September 2008 01:55 AM

We have large computer models for all sorts of physiological systems, pharmacology, cancer chemotherapy, etc.  etc.  They all are limited by being reductionist in nature.  Nevertheless they are state of the art or better.),Neurophysiology, Membrane biophysics, and Complexity theory.

Medical research has always ranked more like social science than physical. The rush to get health information out to the public (which is quite understandable) kind of forces it to be almost reckless by comparison.

I’m not sure where this gets us philosophically, particularly in terms of the scientific method, when we acknowledge that those disciplines (and scientists) that cut corners have some problems. It certainly doesn’t validate cutting corners or reduce science to just another epistemological paradigm though, much less justify religious faith (i.e. pure presumption).

?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 05:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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SkepticX - 26 September 2008 08:54 AM

I’m not sure where this gets us philosophically

complexifier is preaching the doctrine of “Anti-Scientific Synthetic holism”, also known ASS holism. Ignore him, and he will go away.

complexifier - 26 September 2008 02:52 AM

Thanks for the kind welcome.

Burt is a bliss ninny, complexifier, and will kiss the ASS of anything that moves if it makes woo-woo noises. Thanks for bringing us more nonsense-on-stilts.

[ Edited: 26 September 2008 06:03 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 26 September 2008 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Yes, it is, I know. My point is that I’m skeptical that what you’re claiming is the scientific approach is actually an accurate and complete characterization.

Accurate and complete characterization?  Find one that fits that and we shall compare.  There is a rather extensive literature about this and certainly a few words here do not capture its entirety.  However I did post links for you and you seem to have ignored them.  You can choose to do that, but then why ask these questions if you choose to ignore the previous answers?

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Posted: 26 September 2008 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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How can you get from “unknown” to “a god did it” though? I seriously doubt that’s a possible rational conclusion. If the model sucks, then you have an unknown result. You can’t really conclude “God did it”, you have to presume.

No?

I never used “unknown”  I rejected that surmise.  The infinite causal regression is a bad model.  That is true in spite of its use for hundreds of years.  The conclusion God did it preceeded science.  Science claimed to do better.  Science never saw the flaw in its own metaphor.  Now we see it and can understand better why religion thought it had a valid counter argument.  It has not.  It does have faith and that is all.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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What is a “mere sum”?
Are all “parts” just numbers on the real line?
Or are scientists saying that is what all “parts” are?

The context for these statements was a definition of reductionism to which I provided two links.  You should look at them.

The “mere sum of parts” is a reference to a process of thought we call “reverse engineering” in modern technology.  Study a complicated machine long enough by breaking it down to its parts and you can hope to construct it.  This is not possible in a truly complex system as is well known.

The number system is a good example of a complex system.  Rosen uses this example.  Goedel gave his famous theorem in reference to Russell and the other formalists’ failure to codify the number system.

Reductionist scientists believe that knowledge of the atoms and molecules in a material system will ultimately be knowledge of the system.  It has beed demonstrated conclusively over and over again that this idea fails.  Many books have ben written by Nobel Prize winning physicists about this problem.  Schroedinger’s What is Life? is one we deal with in detail.  Schroedinger calls for a “new physics” and we provide it for him.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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complexifier - 26 September 2008 11:38 AM

The infinite causal regression is a bad model.  That is true in spite of its use for hundreds of years.  The conclusion God did it preceeded science.  Science claimed to do better.  Science never saw the flaw in its own metaphor.  Now we see it and can understand better why religion thought it had a valid counter argument.  It has not.  It does have faith and that is all.

I’m not so sure Science never saw this flaw of which you speak (to reify science for the sake of discussion), but the main thing I needed to see is that you’re not advocating the standard issue Cosmological Argument in slightly new clothing (we’ve seen that one just a time or two in here).

Now if I decide to continue with this thread I’ll have a look at those articles ... and then decide if I really want to continue.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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complexifier is preaching the doctrine of “Anti-Scientific Synthetic holism”, also known ASS holism. Ignore him, and he will go away.

  Finally a REAL intellectual appears here.  I was getting worried by all those other folk!  Yes you are very clumsy at setting up straw men though.  If you wish I can help you.  I hope you can understand this reply, it may tax you too much.

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Posted: 26 September 2008 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Are there not levels of reductionism? Dennett refers to ‘greedy’ reductionism as being the culprit that you are speaking about. Cannot some levels of reductionism lead to levels of understanding? Is not some reductionism required to explain any complex system?

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‘If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them’

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