Poll: The relationship between science and religion
 

has been artificial since DesCartes

is a dichotomy

can be seen holisticly if we remove ourselves from the constraints of each discipline

all of the above

 

This is about science, religion, and philosophy:new member

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 11:56
 

I had to choose a spot so I put it here.  This is my first post.  I am a member of a University Center for the study of Biological Complexity and have been writing on this topic for some time.  My work relies heavily on that of the late Robert Rosen (Life Itself, and Essays on Life Itself, Columbia Univ. Press) and George Lakoff.  I recently edited a volume from the Rosen School containing contributions from his students and colleagues:  http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/116833281/issue.  My contribution to that volume was “Causality and Complexity: The Myth of Objectivity in Science (p 2480-2491)”  In it I further develop an argument about the Cartesian legacy, namely the effects of the machine metaphor and the mind/body duality.  Rosen introduced a model to distinguish the Organism from the machine to answer Schroedinger’s ill posed question “What is Life?”  He showed that there is a dichotomy between the two categories, based on reasoning about causality.  Machines are causally impoverished while organisms are closed to efficient cause.  The causal impoverishment of the machine metaphor for living things is what necessitates a diety.  It is the only way to escape an infinite regression of causal questions.  Rosen’s organism escapes this need and places religion in its proper place, in the domain of faith independent of scientific thought.  That’s a quick and dirty introduction.  Ill wait to see if anyone is interested because there is much more.

 
 
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arildno
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25 September 2008 12:16
 

The “domain of faith” as “independent of scientific thought” is a worthless and nonsensical idea.

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 13:07
 

Thanks for your thoughtful consideration of our work.  I’m sure it took you a long time to come up with that insightful analysis.

 
 
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SkepticX
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25 September 2008 13:08
 
complexifier - 25 September 2008 03:56 PM

The causal impoverishment of the machine metaphor for living things is what necessitates a diety.  It is the only way to escape an infinite regression of causal questions.

Sounds like it may not be so much the only way to escape an infinite regression, but rather the only way to escape accepting an unknown, and a possible inherent or inescapable unknown.

Byron

 
 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 13:17
 

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

 
 
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arildno
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25 September 2008 13:27
 
complexifier - 25 September 2008 05:07 PM

Thanks for your thoughtful consideration of our work.  I’m sure it took you a long time to come up with that insightful analysis.

Indeed, it took me about the same time I use to consider the important work of other masturbationists.

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 13:38
 

I don’t understand your comment.  Please tell me why you posted it?

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 13:53
 

The point is that we have an alternative formulation using causal reasoning that produces an sensible, closed causal model.  It also makes it clear that the machine metaphor applied to organisms is nonsense.  There are many other implications from these results.  There is an entire published literature that stems from it.

 
 
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eudemonia
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25 September 2008 13:54
 

Complex. Have you read ‘Breaking the Spell’ by Daniel Dennett?

If not you should. The book explains why religion should in fact be studied scientifically. I think Goulds idea of Non-overlapping Magisteria is being killed off slowly by Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchins etc.,

Muslim fanatics flying planes into buildings changed a lot of peoples views on this.

Victor Stenger says that ‘God” is a failed scientific hypothesis. I much agree.

Complex biological systems eh? Stuart Kauffman guy are you?

I have his ‘Reinventing the Sacred’ on order. You sound like you have probably read it.

 
 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 14:22
 

Yes I have read and critiqued Dennet.  The problem here is that the scientific study of both religion and science has been in the context of reductionist science.  Yes they both need to be studied “scientifically”, but in the spirit of Goedel the study needs to be conducted from outside of either system of thought.  That is where complexity science comes in.  It takes reductionist science as an object of study side by side with religion and shows that the Cartesian version of science created openings for religion to attack flaws that were real.  These flaws, when corrected lead to the sharp division I mentioned at the start.

Yes I have know Stu Kauffmann for a long, long time.  We are both working with Rosen’s ideas although he less so than I.

 
 
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arildno
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25 September 2008 14:28
 

1. What is “reductionist science”?
2. What is logically wrong with it?
3. What false empirical predictions does it necessarily predict?

 
 
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nv
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25 September 2008 14:33
 
complexifier - 25 September 2008 05:53 PM

The point is that we have an alternative formulation using causal reasoning that produces an sensible, closed causal model.  It also makes it clear that the machine metaphor applied to organisms is nonsense. [my emphasis]  There are many other implications from these results.  There is an entire published literature that stems from it.

Would you agree that, in some contexts it’s a valid metaphor, while in others it fails?

 
 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 14:36
 

The place it works fine is in technology, not science.  The discussion of concepts like “life”, “living”, “evolution”, etc. are damaged badly by the failure of the machine metaphor.  Again there is an extensive literature on this.

 
 
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arildno
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25 September 2008 14:39
 
complexifier - 25 September 2008 06:36 PM

The place it works fine is in technology, not science.  The discussion of concepts like “life”, “living”, “evolution”, etc. are damaged badly by the failure of the machine metaphor.  Again there is an extensive literature on this.

The “machine metaphor” is some fantasy object in YOUR mind, not in the minds of actual scientists.

Or if you deny that, provide conclusive evidence for the dominating presence of this spooky metaphor.

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 14:47
 

1. What is “reductionist science”?
2. What is logically wrong with it?
3. What false empirical predictions does it necessarily predict?

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.

 
complexifier
 
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complexifier
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25 September 2008 15:00
 

The “machine metaphor” is some fantasy object in YOUR mind, not in the minds of actual scientists.

Or if you deny that, provide conclusive evidence for the dominating presence of this spooky metaphor.

You don’t consider Dawkins a scientist?  There is an extensive literature on this.  It is not my creation.  Do you want a list of books?  Here’s one for starters (I mention two others in my original post): The Machine as Metaphor and Tool (H. Haken, A Karlqvist and U. Svedin, eds.), Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 87-100.1993

[ Edited: 25 September 2008 15:04 by complexifier]