New book calls science a "Priesthood"

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by rpenner, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    Depending on your talent as an artist, you might. But if you want to get a computer to draw one, you're going to need to describe an apple using mathematical models.
     
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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

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    If this is an example of your reading comprehension, then you're a lost cause.
     
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It would be fun to see your tax returns. (But might get you in hot water if the IRS ever really looks at them.)
     
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  7. river

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    I would think that this " Priesthood " come from the fact that mainstream science seems to think that it knows it all , and that its methods are infallible
     
  8. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    The operative word there being "seems". They did not create this image themselves, since no scientist believes that. I blame the lack of science education in this country as well as the large number of religiously based idiots.
     
  9. river

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    oh yes they did , scientists are to blame for , none have stood up and voiced their concerns about what is happening in the scientific community

    I don't

    it is the self-proclaimed we know it all in the scientific community that is the harm here
     
  10. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

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    All they say is that science is the best way of finding things out that are confirmed by evidence than any other method yet devised by mankind. What's wrong with that? It's the truth!
     
  11. river

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    whats wrong is that we haven't updated the method , to 2012 thinking
     
  12. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    What, precisely, do you mean? If this is an example of "2012 persuasive exposition" I don't have high hopes for "2012 thinking" having seen no evidence of any thinking in the above post.

    // Also, this is as good a place as any to put a link to this essay: On "anti-science" again
     
  13. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    What you are expressing is a personal ideation that reflects isolation from the mainstream. So you yourself are creating these impressions. They do not exist in reality, only in your imagination.

    You may feel overwhelmed by the scope and complexity of science. Who doesn't? But most people don't translate that into envy or resentment. Usually we sense awe and curiosity.

    These feelings can be rehabilitated. You only need to take a few moments to read the actual ideas of any prominent scientist. To remove yourself from the present reality that has you in a bind, you could seek out older material.

    Here I picked at random, an introduction from Charles Darwin in one of the many descriptive works he published, this one on fossils:

    Compare what you just said with what is actually taking place in the mind of this man. He wants to be sure every detail is preserved. Before he has even given you any actual explanation of the finds, you can already sense this man's honesty. He went out and dug those bones up on his own time; it was not even the fundamental purpose of the mission. He did this out of his driving curiosity to understand nature.

    Consider the open and objective nature of his speech, the urgency with which he wants to reveal his discoveries, and transparency of his ego, and compare this with your own language:

    What's wrong with this picture?
     
  14. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Relating Scientists to a Priesthood isn't altogether inappropriate. Science has its disciplines, takes many years of study, and has elements (wait for it...) of faith! There's faith in the Scientific Process and the philosophical concept of Truth. This does not mean that the veracity of the Scientific Process exists any more than God does, necessarily; it just so happens that the Scientific Process seems to produce more practical results for society*. I would say the knee-jerk response to denying a link between Priesthood and Science is rooted in attempted elitism; the same feeling I get when a Christian Fundamentalist says "God Bless You".

    *Even this is debatable; there are plenty of religious cultures that value their religious identity over your silly scientific advancements.
     
  15. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    The use of reason to acquire understanding is completely different from faith, which has its roots in the belief of the supernatural. Understanding nature (or the pursuit of understanding) is entirely the opposite: it is the determination to avoid superstition, and errors of every kind.

    You may also feel a personal sense of isolation from the world of science and this may be influencing your ideations that science exhibits elitism. If so, that experience is your own, not shared by the countless majority of people who would embrace it, including every student who enrolls in science education and careers worldwide. There are some countries where misery is so severe, people aspire to educate themselves in fields ranging from civil engineering to medicine, simply because they desire to fix their broken infrastructures. For so many people worldwide, science is their last best hope at escaping misery. They would scoff at this denigration of science.

    Unlike a religion, science is a body of knowledge, taught and shared openly, controlled by no one, having no sanctuaries or rites, no clergy or untestable writings, and completely uninvolved in advising people on matters of conscience. This is why is is so absurd to compare science to religion.
     
  16. RJBeery Natural Philosopher Valued Senior Member

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    Uhh, I'm agnostic, and quite "scientifically minded", or at least aspire to be, thanks.
    I could make the same exact case for Religion. Societies use it for comfort, to educate themselves, or to fix broken societal infrastructures. For so many people worldwide, Religion is their last best hope, and (surprise!) they scoff at any denigration of their Religion. (I still don't quite understand how you don't consider it elitist to consider the comparison a "denigration" of Science, but I'll let that go)
    You're comparing the theoretical Scientific Ideal with the application of Organized Religion. If you think real-world Science is controlled by no one, having no sanctuaries or rites, no "clergy", no political influence, no corruption, no agendas and no flaws then you are blind.

    Both institutions are, in theory, a search for Truth. What do you think Amen means? As I said, it just so happens that (largely Western society) finds the "truth" of Science to be more practical than the "truth" of Religion.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    But your claim would be meaningless, as in comfort and whatever "societal infrastructures" means other than bridges and water supplies, or false, as in educate themselves.
    The stuff about politics, corruption, flaws, etc is of course irrelevant,

    but the claim of sanctuaries, rites, "clergy", and a person or persons in control, would be pertinent if you can back it up. Can you?

    Meanwhile:
    The "veracity" of the scientific method (not process) is meaningless - it exists, it's useful, it prevents mistakes and curbs the known human tendency to jump to conclusions and form mistaken patterns. It is not a method for finding truth, but for identifying error.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2012
  18. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    Have you read The Farce of Physics?
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Nope.
     
  20. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    Multiple anecdotes by a lunatic do not add up to either data or a cognizant argument.
     
  21. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    That's true. However, what is your basis for the suggestion that Wallace was a "lunatic"? The guy was a professional physicist, wasn't he?
     
  22. rpenner Fully Wired Valued Senior Member

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    Not a certification of current sanity.
     
  23. ughaibu Registered Senior Member

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    I take it, then, that you have no support for the suggestion that Wallace was a lunatic. So, are you withdrawing that suggestion?
     

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