• TheArchitectOfTheGods
    50
    I am surprised this thread got so long, who in his right mind would disagree with the statement of the original post?
    'Science is a good thing'

    -> Science is the best thing that has ever happened to humankind. :strong: We'd literally be living in clay huts with a life expectancy of 40 years max and infant mortality rates up to 50% without science... no offense Chad and Niger, you'll catch up soon :victory:

    Science even enables us to find new solutions for the environmental problems it is creating due to its high speed development. Governance simply cannot catch up fast enough with all the new stuff.
    Do you blame the politicians of the 50s and 60s for not having put regulations on all those new synthetic materials, for not realizing we had once again stolen fire from the gods and had begun creating compounds that do not occur in nature?
    Compounds that god did not create in the entire universe?
    That we had become the agents that god needed to create first in order to create such compound materials?
    They should have. People should have. Now the shit has hit the fan, but science will come again to the rescue and help to clean up the pollution. That is why science is the best thing that has ever happened on this planet (or in the universe?)
  • baker
    1.6k
    It was you who on page 22 of your own thread asked:

    ... a wilful emphasis on every negative.

    Comment?
    Banno

    You're holding it against people for actually replying to the bloody OP quest, which was, to remind you:

    This thread is a fishing expedition. I'm seeking out those who disagree with this proposition: Science is a good thing, to see what their arguments are.Banno
  • Todd Martin
    298
    We'd literally be living in clay huts with a life expectancy of 40 years max and infant mortality rates up to 50% without scienceTheArchitectOfTheGods

    Well, both Keats and Mozart defied that infant mortality rate, and produced some of the best music and poetry known to man, though neither lived beyond the age of 35. You can argue that science is good based on the prosperity of the masses, but if the higher accomplishments of the soul are compromised by its success, better observers might begin to wonder whether it was worth it: are we better off living in a world that is safe and healthy, comfortable and secure and wealthy? or was the science we employed in order to obtain that world part and parcel of a philosophical/political scheme that also succeeded in diminishing the artistic/aesthetic potential of mankind?

    After all, unless you haven’t noticed, we no longer produce Beethovens or Mozarts, Keatses or Dantes, Raphaels or Rembrandts. The generations that fed off that cultural richness died in the last century. Are we better off because we now lead longer, more comfortable and secure lives, when those lives are spent playing checkers in retirement homes? where we’re visited occasionally by sons and daughters who we know don’t care much for us, are just waiting for us to die so they don’t have to come see us anymore?

    For my part I prefer a world less secure in which I am not guaranteed longevity and comfort, but in which I am free to pursue the good and beautiful with danger and discomfort and awareness of my mortality. The world we now have, bestowed upon us by science, is a world indeed full of longevity and comfort and security; but it is bereft of goodness and beauty. We seem to have as though made a pact with the devil: “Sign here and I will give you good hope of eternal life without fear of injury or disease...but your soul shall eat of the cursed ground all the days of your life...thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and it shall eat the herb of the field”.

    This wasteland of the soul is what I fear we have received in exchange for a prosperous bodily existence. I know all the counter-arguments: “but more ppl than ever before have access to the greatest cultural achievements of man through the internet”. This seems impressive until you realize that the contemporary soul is unable to digest the fodder: the soul itself has been transformed by philosophy to recognize only the base concerns of the body, and to delight only in its barbaric emanations. Beethoven and Mozart are accessible to all; whose soul is moved by them?
  • Todd Martin
    298
    In other words, “the music is nothing if the audience is deaf”.
  • Banno
    12.7k
    I'm not following your actual argument.

    Is it that Mozart survived childhood, against the odds, and somehow this makes his work of greater value?

    Why would that be so?

    For my part I prefer a world less secure in which I am not guaranteed longevity and comfort, but in which I am free to pursue the good and beautiful with danger and discomfort and awareness of my mortality.Todd Martin

    One pictures oneself as one of the survivors, not one of the many who died in childhood. Those who dies are not free to pursue the good and beautiful.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    This wasteland of the soul is what I fear we have received in exchange for a prosperous bodily existence. I know all the counter-arguments...Todd Martin

    Apparently, you'd don't know the counter argument that science is the word of God - decoded by man; yet denied and decried as heresy by the Church, and so misused and abused by government and industry... including the philosophy industry.

    The "wasteland of the soul" you describe is a consequence of the fact religion chose an antithetical relationship to science, and yet science is true. As the two diverge, the one claiming to be the source of all things spiritual, moral, aesthetic - appears falsified by contrast to the demonstrable truths of science.

    Philosophy has failed to come to terms with this. Even here, you build upon the same religious dichotomy between the spiritual and the mundane; rather than seeking to reconcile subject and object, fact and value, truth and beauty, you construe science as some Faustian bargain. But if your deal was with the devil, he was wearing vestments and a mitre - not a lab coat!
  • frank
    7.4k
    In other words, “the music is nothing if the audience is deaf”.Todd Martin

    You can still have gore and grand purposes in a star trek style.

    Neanderthals didn't have all the fun.
  • Fooloso4
    1.9k
    You can argue that science is good based on the prosperity of the masses, but if the higher accomplishments of the soul are compromised by its success ...Todd Martin

    You have not established a causal relation or shown that science and art are incompatible.

    In other words, “the music is nothing if the audience is deaf”.Todd Martin
    d

    And this is exactly what is wrong with your post. It says a lot about you but nothing about music after Beethoven or literature after Keats.
  • TheArchitectOfTheGods
    50
    The soul itself has been transformed by philosophy to recognize only the base concerns of the body, and to delight only in its barbaric emanations. Beethoven and Mozart are accessible to all; whose soul is moved by them?Todd Martin
    Some interesting thoughts. You may want to check the comments section on youtube for Mozart's piano concertos. But that same comment section reveals also what technology has taken away from us, namely the ability to eloquently express our thoughts and feelings in writing, and this deterioration in linguistic abilities and modes of expression results of course in a change of the soul, I completely agree with you here. As for genius, surely there are now more people alive as brilliant as Mozart or Einstein, than there were in their own age. Let history decide who will be considered the geniuses of our age with hindsight, which breakthroughs of science and technology, and which works of art will be considered milestones in human achievements, and which not.
  • Hanover
    6.2k
    This sociological process of moving from religion to science has been named "disenchantment" first by Max Weber and then adopted and advanced by others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disenchantment This thread asks the general question whether disenchantment is a good thing, but I'd submit that if Weber is correct that this process has occurred, then our responses here must suffer terribly from confirmation bias. The only ones who are immune from this bias are those heavily insulated from mainstream society, as in the very religious, as in those I've cited to before, like the Chassidic and the Amish. All others are going to just walk lock step with the society they are a part of.

    So, to keep an open mind, we have to allow that science is not always a good thing, especially when it crushes the spirit each of us has in us by denying its very existence.

    Anyway, I thought I'd take a different approach to this thread...
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    So, to keep an open mind, we have to allow that science is not always a good thing, especially when it crushes the spirit each of us has in us by denying its very existence.Hanover

    I don't know of any science that directly refutes the existence of 'the spirit each of us has in us.' I do know of a 400 year old religious and philosophical tradition of anti-science scare stories; that continue even unto this day as assumptions like yours.

    I am aware that many scientists are atheist, but then the Church declared science heresy from 1635 onward - and so set the condition of that relationship, and the subsequent philosophical environment within which science developed - robbed of moral authority as valid knowledge of "Creation."

    An impartial observer, I propose - might reasonably expect science, as the means to establish valid knowledge of Creation - to be recognised as spiritually significant and morally integrated into society on an ongoing basis. But instead, science was deprived of the moral worth that follows normatively and naturally from its truth value.

    It's a position philosophy has done its very best to justify, and it's that anti-science philosophical abuse that crushes the spirit - for it accords science only cold, clinical, mechanistic implications, reserving "the spirit" to ideological definition, not allowing spirit to evolve in true relation to reality.

    The consequent misapplication of technology, you seem to assume is rightful - as a basis for claiming that:

    we have to allow that science is not always a good thing,Hanover

    ..sure, not in the hands of ideologues who have no regard for the understanding of reality science describes, even as they employ its tools toward their own ends, science is at the very least as dangerous as it is helpful, but developed and applied in regard to a scientific understanding of reality/Creation, recognised as spiritually significant and morally integrated into society, I think science would have been a good thing.
  • Todd Martin
    298
    I'm not following your actual argument.

    Is it that Mozart survived childhood, against the odds, and somehow this makes his work of greater value?
    Banno

    I make no causal connection b/w his survival and the quality of his music. My point is that, despite the fact that many more ppl died young in olden times, nevertheless, those who did survive enjoyed a richer culture, and I question the validity of the argument that science is undeniably good simply because it increases physical prosperity and longevity.

    One pictures oneself as one of the survivors, not one of the many who died in childhood. Those who died are not free to pursue the good and beautiful.Banno

    But neither are the many survivors today free for this pursuit; not because they are dead, but because the culture is dead they were supposed to survive in order to enjoy. The very idea of the good and beautiful, along with that of the soul, has disappeared. It’s like the old adage, “what good is it to gain the whole world, yet lose your soul?”


    The "wasteland of the soul" you describe is a consequence of the fact religion chose an antithetical relationship to sciencecounterpunch

    I think science and religion are natural enemies. The recognition that there is a natural order discoverable by reason, and the authority of text revealed to man by god must necessarily collide, which was always the source of the persecutions of philosophers by the civil/religious authorities.

    As the two [religion and science] diverge, the one claiming to be the source of all things spiritual, moral, aesthetic - appears falsified by contrast to the demonstrable truths of science.counterpunch

    The fault lies with science, not religion; and I mean by “science” what used to be meant by “philosophy”, ie, the pursuit of the truth about nature according to reason—including the nature of man, of his soul. That bold innovation of Machiavelli and his numerous disciples, the Enlightenment—was really just a power-grab: an attempt to wrest authority away from the pontiffs and prelates and rulers who bowed to them and place it in the hands of philosophers, that they no longer suffer persecution, and this was successfully accomplished by focusing man’s attention on his material as opposed to spiritual prosperity. It was this goal of philosophy that conduced to the division in philosophy b/w it and science in the modern sense, ie, “hard” science, the sort that is demonstrable and easily adaptable to material prosperity.

    But if your deal was with the devil, he was wearing vestments and a mitre - not a lab coat!counterpunch

    The modern scientist casts an ambiguous shadow: does he really only want to understand rerum naturam as the disinterested theoretician, or is he the benefactor of mankind, the technician discovering things that can be used to increase our material prosperity? Everything lies in the motive, for it is not obvious that everything he discovers has practical application—especially in the realm of the soul. Aristotle’s lover of “beautiful and useless things” is not to the modern taste.


    You have not established a causal relation or shown that science and art are incompatible.Fooloso4

    O Morosophos, once upon a time, depictors of the human body cared little of anatomical accuracy, but cared much about conveying in their works the spirit or soul encapsulated within the body they portrayed. After the Enlightenment, artists began studying anatomy in order to better represent the human body, its exact musculature, dissecting corpses...this change in itself is an indication of the alteration that philosophy (science) exacted upon aesthetics: more emphasis on physical exactitude, at the cost of psychic representation. Only compare Rembrandt with David.


    As for genius, surely there are now more people alive as brilliant as Mozart or Einstein, than there were in their own age.TheArchitectOfTheGods

    Potentially as brilliant, I would say— but there is something you’re not taking into account here, O ArchitectwnTwnThewn: though more ppl survive and live long lives now through the beneficence of science, and though they are as smart and crafty as any of the ancients, those artists and thinkers of yore lived in a day when the cultural/philosophic soil was more fertile...

    ...one is reminded of the parable of Jesus concerning the seed which was scattered among the thorns, which choked it, and in the fertile ground, where it grew up tall and strong: it doesn’t matter so much how many seeds you plant as where you plant them.
  • god must be atheist
    3.2k
    After all, unless you haven’t noticed, we no longer produce Beethovens or Mozarts, Keatses or Dantes, Raphaels or Rembrandts.Todd Martin

    But we have the Beatles, the Rolling of the Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. We also have Messi, Ronaldo, and Ronaldhino. We have Terry Fox, Diana the Dead Princess, Janos von Neumann and Ho Si Mah. We have Chong E Ti, we have Cheung Chiu, and Chang Cheung Ching. Not to mention Chang Chang Chung Ching Chog, the world leader if
  • Fooloso4
    1.9k
    once upon a time, depictors of the human body cared little of anatomical accuracy, but cared much about conveying in their works the spirit or soul encapsulated within the body they portrayed. After the Enlightenment, artists began studying anatomy in order to better represent the human body, its exact musculature, dissecting corpses...this change in itself is an indication of the alteration that philosophy (science) exacted upon aesthetics: more emphasis on physical exactitude, at the cost of psychic representation. Only compare Rembrandt with David.Todd Martin

    Your romantic notions of a golden age of scientific ignorance are at odds with historical facts.
    Michelangelo lived 1475-1564, David was sculpted between 1501 and 1504. Rembrandt lived from 1606- 1669. It seems likely that what you are calling the Enlightenment was actually the Scientific Revolution which preceded it.

    According to your theory the anatomically exact David would have been created after the work of Rembrandt, but it was created about 100 years before Rembrandt was born.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    I think science and religion are natural enemies. The recognition that there is a natural order discoverable by reason, and the authority of text revealed to man by god must necessarily collide, which was always the source of the persecutions of philosophers by the civil/religious authorities.Todd Martin

    A conflict between faith and reason as means to authoritative truth was the basis upon which the Church took offence to science, but that doesn't show that it was necessary. From as early as 1274, St Thomas Aquinas was talking about how faith and reason cannot ultimately be in conflict. I'm not a theologian, but it seems to me the philosophical groundwork was there in the cannon of Catholic doctrine - that could have bridged the apparent divide.


    As the two [religion and science] diverge, the one claiming to be the source of all things spiritual, moral, aesthetic - appears falsified by contrast to the demonstrable truths of science.
    — counterpunch

    The fault lies with science, not religion; and I mean by “science” what used to be meant by “philosophy”, ie, the pursuit of the truth about nature according to reason—including the nature of man, of his soul. That bold innovation of Machiavelli and his numerous disciples, the Enlightenment—was really just a power-grab: an attempt to wrest authority away from the pontiffs and prelates and rulers who bowed to them and place it in the hands of philosophers, that they no longer suffer persecution, and this was successfully accomplished by focusing man’s attention on his material as opposed to spiritual prosperity. It was this goal of philosophy that conduced to the division in philosophy b/w it and science in the modern sense, ie, “hard” science, the sort that is demonstrable and easily adaptable to material prosperity.Todd Martin

    I have read this six times and still don't know what it means. I completely reject the idea of Machiavelli as a figurehead of the Enlightenment. His major work, the Prince - was advice to monarchy on how to retain power. While diabolically clever, there's nothing particularly enlightened about it.

    The modern scientist casts an ambiguous shadow: does he really only want to understand rerum naturam as the disinterested theoretician, or is he the benefactor of mankind, the technician discovering things that can be used to increase our material prosperity? Everything lies in the motive, for it is not obvious that everything he discovers has practical application—especially in the realm of the soul. Aristotle’s lover of “beautiful and useless things” is not to the modern taste.Todd Martin

    I presume, if I understood the previous paragraph, I'd understand this one, but again, your meaning is slipping by me. Let me get this straight - Machivelli masterminded a power grab against the Church by advising monarchy on how to retain power, that somehow distracted people from spiritual matters, and this led the Church to put Galileo on trial for heresy, and that's why science sucks? No. I'm still not getting it!
  • Banno
    12.7k
    I make no causal connection b/w his survival and the quality of his music. My point is that, despite the fact that many more ppl died young in olden times, nevertheless, those who did survive enjoyed a richer culture, and I question the validity of the argument that science is undeniably good simply because it increases physical prosperity and longevity.Todd Martin

    That richer culture was available to only a small minority of people, of course. Now, thanks to science, it is virtually ubiquitous (pun intended).

    Also the violin, in all its variants, the piano, the pipe organ - all the instruments that come together for your romantic self-indulgence - are the product of science; they were once novel.

    Most tellingly you offer no criteria by which we might measure the "richness" of a culture. I am writing to you, instantly, from the other side of the world. We both have access to the entire catalogue of music of choice. We have access to critique, history, analysis.

    I don't see anything of substance in your comment.
  • magritte
    255
    the advent of science has had an extraordinarily, overwhelmingly positive impact on how we live.Banno

    Perhaps, but science has been a great deal less influential than technology. The relation of the two to each other is not as simple as is usually assumed.

    Technology is often serendipitous discovery based on existing culturally cumulative advances which then motivates science. Which comes first can be a chicken-egg problem.

    Nevertheless, both are double-edged swords with many gains in personal comforts, conveniences, and pleasures all with the possibility of being wiped out by human enabled devastating social, international and environmental catastrophes.

    It's a good thing for all of us that CERN guessed right prior to producing antiparticles.
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    It was this goal of philosophy that conduced to the division in philosophy b/w it and science in the modern sense, ie, “hard” science, the sort that is demonstrable and easily adaptable to material prosperity.Todd Martin

    The underlying historical cause of this phenomenon seems to lie in an unbalanced development of the human mind in the West, beginning around the time of the European Renaissance. This development gave increasing importance to the rational, manipulative and dominative capacities of the mind at the expense of its intuitive, comprehensive, sympathetic and integrative capacities. The rise to dominance of the rational, manipulative facets of human consciousness led to a fixation upon those aspects of the world that are amenable to control by this type of consciousness — the world that could be conquered, comprehended and exploited in terms of fixed quantitative units. This fixation did not stop merely with the pragmatic efficiency of such a point of view, but became converted into a theoretical standpoint, a standpoint claiming validity. In effect, this means that the material world, as defined by modern science, became the founding stratum of reality, while mechanistic physics, its methodological counterpart, became a paradigm for understanding all other types of natural phenomena, biological, psychological and social.

    The early founders of the Scientific Revolution in the seventeenth century — such as Galileo, Boyle, Descartes and Newton — were deeply religious men, for whom the belief in the wise and benign Creator was the premise behind their investigations into lawfulness of nature. However, while they remained loyal to the theistic premises of Christian faith, the drift of their thought severely attenuated the organic connection between the divine and the natural order, a connection so central to the premodern world view. They retained God only as the remote Creator and law-giver of Nature and sanctioned moral values as the expression of the Divine Will, the laws decreed for man by his Maker. In their thought a sharp dualism emerged between the transcendent sphere and the empirical world. The realm of "hard facts" ultimately consisted of units of senseless matter governed by mechanical laws, while ethics, values and ideals were removed from the realm of facts and assigned to the sphere of an interior subjectivity.

    It was only a matter of time until, in the trail of the so-called Enlightenment, a wave of thinkers appeared who overturned the dualistic thesis central to this world view in favor of the straightforward materialism. This development was a following through of the reductionistic methodology to its final logical consequences. Once sense perception was hailed as the key to knowledge and quantification came to be regarded as the criterion of actuality, the logical next step was to suspend entirely the belief in a supernatural order and all it implied. Hence finally an uncompromising version of mechanistic materialism prevailed, whose axioms became the pillars of the new world view. Matter is now the only ultimate reality, and divine principle of any sort dismissed as sheer imagination.
    — Bhikkhu Bodhi
  • Janus
    10.3k
    I think he was referring to David, the painter.

    I'm not a theologian, but it seems to me the philosophical groundwork was there in the cannon of Catholic doctrine - that could have bridged the apparent divide.counterpunch

    The significant divide begins when science begins to question, even repudiate, the more central articles of faith.
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    I'm not a theologian, but it seems to me the philosophical groundwork was there in the cannon of Catholic doctrine - that could have bridged the apparent divide.counterpunch

    You know it cuts both ways. The vocal atheists of popular culture all weaponise evolutionary theory to ‘prove’ or ‘show’ that God doesn’t exist. So how are the religious supposed to react to that? ‘Oh, I guess you’re right. I guess what I’ve seen up until now as the whole foundation of my life is really just a delusion, a by-product of my evolved simian brain.’ I don’t think so.

    Biologist Richard Lewontin summed it up very nicely in his infamous review of Carl Sagan’s last book, The Demon-Haunted World:

    Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    You know it cuts both ways. The vocal atheists of popular culture all weaponise evolutionary theory to ‘prove’ or ‘show’ that God doesn’t exist. So how are the religious supposed to react to that? ‘Oh, I guess you’re right. I guess what I’ve seen up until now as the whole foundation of my life is really just a delusion, a by-product of my evolved simian brain.’Wayfarer

    How does it cut both ways? Galileo proved the earth orbits the sun. The bishops in charge of the trial would not even look through a telescope. Are you suggesting they were right not to do so?
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    Not for a minute.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    Not for a minute.Wayfarer

    Helpful!
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    Does the expression ‘biblical literalism’ mean anything to you? Do you know why it is criticised? What the alternatives are to it?
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    Does the expression ‘biblical literalism’ mean anything to you? Do you know why it is criticised? What the alternatives are to it?Wayfarer

    Yes, yes, and erm, not really!

    Is there a point coming along soon?
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    I think it one of those situations where if you have to explain the point, it’s not worth making. I’m sure someone will come along soon with another point, let’s wait for that.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    I think it one of those situations where if you have to explain the point, it’s not worth making. I’m sure someone will come along soon with another point, let’s wait for that.Wayfarer

    I recognise that religion is important to people - but it's not true in the way that science is true. Science has more claim to be the word of God than the politics of primitive people. Science establishes true knowledge of reality. If reality is Created, then it's true knowledge of Creation i.e. the word of God. The Church could have adopted that position. It was provided for by St Thomas Aquinas view that rational and spiritual knowledge cannot be in conflict. But that's not what happened. The Church made a mistake in making a heresy of science. As a direct consequence the human species is faced with extinction. And you're telling me your feewings is hurty? And you demand I defend the conduct and arguments of rabid atheists - who to my mind, are every bit as faithful as you are! I accept what can be known, first, and keep an open mind as to other things like the existence of God. So why are you putting this on me?
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    You’re kind of fundamentalist in your own way, you know. It’s a very black v white, good guys v bad guys script you’re running. Stay with it, I will trouble you no more.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    You’re kind of fundamentalist in your own way, you know. It’s a very black v white, good guys v bad guys script you’re running. Stay with it, I will trouble you no more.Wayfarer

    Your comprehension is poor!
  • magritte
    255
    The significant divide begins when science begins to question, even repudiate, the more central articles of faithJanus

    Neither philosophy (logic) nor science (the world) can do that. Personal faith is independent of both and also of whichever religious dogma (culture).
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