On BioScience and Life and Such

A train (wreck) of (religious) thoughts

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2009 at 11:50 am

post to news.thinkgene.com

Early science, particularly geometry and astro...
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I made this argument in the last post that being “natural” (or biologically unaltered, which is more accurate in this setting) means keeping our self-reliance. And, loosing that self-reliance may be one of the main reasons people fear biomedical technology.

Then it occurred to me, what about religion ? After all mankind at all times have used religion in one form or another to justify/explain our existence, – and usually there is one or more almighty deities that are in control. Pledging allegiance to a god must certainly be to give away self-reliance ?

I’d like to argue the opposite. Religion is our way of pretending we control things that are clearly outside of our control. Thus, with a deity on our side we are self reliant even though it’s quite obvious in our daily lives that we are not. The central underlying assumption is that this God is on our side, – on our team.

Technology on the other hand does not take sides. Statistics, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are (in theory) completely objective – sometimes cruelly so.

The real delusion then is not the one that Dawkins points out – that God is a delusion (and I have commented on this before,  his arguments really doesn’t make a difference because beliefs or faith can easily be called delusional, but still serve the same purpose). Rather the real delusion is that God is on our side, – that god makes our team self reliant.

And consequently that science does not. But the naked truth is that the concept of self reliance is what is delusional – making scientific development go in the direction we want is  the least delusional and by far the safest way to make sure our reliance will be upon something benign.

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  1. “Technology on the other hand does not take sides. Statistics, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are (in theory) completely objective[.]”

    What the heck does this mean? Seems like a little bit of deftness with ye olde cerebral cortex, no?
    You make good points for chewing on in your post, but the above, when taken strictly, kind of starts you down a slippery slope, does it not?
    “Objective (in theory)” implies subjectivity in application. If that is so, well, then, how can we rely on objectivity… and don’t we end up relying on belief yet again?
    Use the windshield wipers of logic on mine eyes, aye?
    Cheers,
    Hugo

  2. “… and don’t we end up relying on belief yet again?”

    Short answer – yes !

    A bit longer answer – the “(in theory)” was referring to belief and assumptions in interpreting data in science. The data itself I guess is “objective” – the manipulation of that data is objective too, but maybe to a lesser extent. The interpretation of data needs to follow the scientific method to stay as objective as possible, but the assumption and predictions based on scientific data can be much less objective. Especially future predictions on science can become very subjective (Transhumanism and singularity believers comes to mind) to the point where it rivals religion.

    Much longer answer – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/24/opinion/24davies.html?_r=1

  3. And an even longer answer in this (and upcoming) edge edition(s):

    http://www.edge.org/documents/archive/edge272.html

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