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February 11, 2023


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>> .... But there's no doubt that science is humanity's best approach to understanding reality<<


But is it also the best approach to attribute meaning and value?

Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world and have different methods for acquiring knowledge. While science is based on empirical evidence, systematic observation, and experimentation, religion is based on faith, belief, and scripture.

In terms of accuracy, science has been highly successful in explaining and describing the natural world and making predictions that can be tested and verified. Science has also led to numerous technological advances and has improved our understanding of the world and the universe.

Religion, on the other hand, deals with more abstract concepts such as spirituality, morality, and the meaning of life, which are not easily susceptible to scientific investigation. In this sense, religion is not necessarily more or less accurate than science, but rather operates on a different plane of understanding.

It is also important to note that science and religion can complement each other and can coexist in a person's worldview. Some people find that both science and religion provide valuable insights and perspectives on the world and that they can exist harmoniously.

Ultimately, the question of which is more accurate is a matter of personal belief and perspective, and different individuals may have different opinions on the matter.

um, meaning and value reside in a subjective realm within the human mind. Obviously you can't look to science to tell you whether you liked or disliked a movie, or liked or disliked a meal at a restaurant. But the objective reality of the movie and the meal is within the realm of science. People just have different subjective reactions to objective reality.

I've never known of a scientist claiming that science attributes meaning and value to experiences. So your question is spurious, since it isn't something that scientists claim. I'm sure you agree with me that science and the scientific method is our best way of understanding reality. If someone is sick, they're a lot better off going to a medical provider skilled in science rather than a faith healer or other religious person who relies on the supernatural to heal.

>>I've never known of a scientist claiming that science attributes meaning and value to experiences.<<

Ask an expert in statistics at the university what prossesing data is all about.

For the rest you are right.

My whole point is and was that science is by its own design, restricted to a restricted field of reality.
Nothing wrong with that.
But that said, most things that are of value and meaning to humans, is to be found outside that domain.

um, again, science doesn't claim to have an unrestricted field of reality, because there's no such thing. Everybody is limited in how they view reality. Science is so successful because it brings us out of our personal restricted view into an impersonal larger view of reality. For most of human history people were mostly clueless about the nature of the world. Now science has given us the ability to have a fund of common knowledge about that world.

We no longer argue about whether our planet is flat or round. We no longer argue about whether the sun is at the center of the solar system. We know so much, while there is so much left to know. This knowledge provides a lot of value and meaning to humans, so it's a mistake to think that science exists in its own world, separate and distinct from our subjective selves. You just used science to leave a comment on this blog. You didn't need to handwrite a letter and have it delivered by horse to me. We take the accomplishments of science for granted because they are such an integral part of human life.

Imagine how different the meaning and value of your life would be without modern medicine, modern technology, modern understanding of the cosmos. Even fervent religious believers embrace science every day when they drive in their car or cook with a microwave.

Science is not a human and cannot speak.

Science is an abstract tool in the hands of humans and is restricted in its use as all human tools are.

Humans by nature attribute meaning and value based upon their inborn instincts of survival. They want to survive in nature and in their artificial nature = culture / society.

They will attribute meaning and value to the findings of science that serves their survival.

The academical history until today is full of manipulation of data in favor of this and that interest ... value=free objective science is impossible and an idiocy of the seventies, for the very simple reason that all humans, scientists are no robots or machines, are subjective,

The design of science itself is subjective, in order to make it seen as objective, they have designed an strategy of restriction in terms om theory, instruments and fields of research.

Everything humans live for, are willing to kill and be killed falls outside their domain.

Science has not the power to attribute meaning and value, humans do so and even a first grade statistic can explain that to you. Data point have no meaning and/or value ... that meaning is GIVEN to these points in a graph.

Ideologies in all their forms, worldly and religious / spiritual are not a matter of truth but they are a way to give meaning and value, a way of life ... being american, democrat, lover of science, atheist and all the many other things that keep you busy in your daily life..... and yes some do need the outcome of science to make their identifications more valuable and meaningful. ... believable

Brian ... there are some scientific wars going on in academia.

In the past they were mostly hidden from the public but since the spread of the internet, all and everything is in the open.

Just to name one .... the nutritional value of soya.

and now we are here in your blog given its interest

do not forget the pharmaceutical studies all over the world.

Only recently, the public is informed about the addictive qualities of oxycontin as a painkiller, being presented to them as being harmless that made thousands of people dependent.

All work of HUMANS

um, oxycontin is a useful drug for relieving pain. The problem with the drug is that the pharmaceutical company that marketed it pushed doctors to prescribe it and failed to deal with its destructive effects when overused. That isn't the fault of science. It's the fault of greedy people who found meaning in making money from the deaths of many people.

In the same vein, consider that science-deniers who falsely claimed that Covid vaccines weren't safe and effective caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans who failed to get vaccinated. This is a great example of how ignoring medical science can lead to immense personal and societal suffering. And let's not forget the 3,000 who died on 9/11 2001 because Islamic religious extremists killed them in the name of their religion.

There's no comparable example of believers in science going crazy and killing non-believers in science. As noted in the blog post I wrote about the documentary criticizing India's prime minister Modi, thousands of Muslims were killed by a Hindu mob. Again, science doesn't lead people to kill those with a differing viewpoint. It takes religion and other destructive human tendencies to do that. Science forms common bonds between people. Religions drive people apart.

Behind ALL activities you describe are HUMANS.

Humans USE whatever they deem fit to arrive at their goals .. be they scientific or religious.

Science Brian is conducted by humans and for that very simple reason it cannot be objective.... whatever humans do, has the stamp of "made by humans"

Just delve in the story of Oxycontin .. and you will find that pharmacists and docters, trusting = believing the experts that produced it, gave it to their patients BELIEVING it was a painkiller that was not addictive .

I know it first hand as a member of my family, was given these medicines in an Univerity clinic. When I expressed my doubts I was informed that as long as there is pain Oxycontin is NOT addictive. ..."fortunately" the patient died, otherwise he had come out of the proces heavenly addicted to drugs, given the amount of painkillers that were given.

Sartre, is said to have had a quarrel with a judge he accused of having blood at his hands in passing death sentences.
The judge defended himself saying that he just acted according the law in favor ow the community at large.
Sartre answered .. You knew that you were to pass these penalties when you accepted the job etc you could have chosen an other occupation.

Science does make the same bonds that drive people apart and even into death but in another way.

Behind all the industries that are harmful to humanity, there are scientists that produce lethal and harmful things ...and they do that knowingly!!!

Take the tobacco industries, the producers of pesticides etc and the inventors of commodities as anti-adhesive pans .. you name it. ... they all know.

🦁 🐯 🐻 oh my!

@Brian – “Vaccines work. Paxlovid works. Don't believe those who say otherwise. I'm much rather put my faith in science, even though it isn't perfect, than in religious belief or wacko conspiracy theories that have no grounding at all in reality.”

I was astounded – even amused – at a person’s remarks on TV recently who believes that Covid, along with the lock-downs and precautions, was a hoax. Dear oh dear, after all the thousands and thousands of lives that were saved adhering to the lock-down rules and particularly the scientists in America and Europe who worked tirelessly to create a vaccine, people still seem to prefer ridiculous conspiracy theories and gleefully like to point out scientific failures.

Regarding the motives of science, the simple definition that “Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.” That’s basically it. Many of the criticisms of science are based on the misapplications following their findings, and often the political rush to push them ahead – often sacrificing further scrutiny. And okay, science – particularly in medicine – makes mistakes and wrong judgements, but by and large many, including me, many would be long dead or severely ill if it wasn’t for science.

Science is not about meaning; it’s about the inquiry into the natural world – including us. It’s not about providing meaning, that is a human abstract which only serves to temporarily placate those who are looking for some mental security that does not exist in nature.

@ Ron

If you are on a survival trip, what life is all about, both in the natural world as in the artificial world, culture, and you do not attribute meaning and value, to what is going on in your surroundings, you will soon encounter misery.

Humans other than other species have the capacity to re-create their original habitat. In order to be able to do so, nature has provided humanity with the tools to do so and in the same generous way as it was given to the plant kingdom that is not free to move and the animal kingdom that is free to move but within a restricted territory..

Science is one of these tools for the solution of practical problems ...the creation of light bulbs as an artificial sun to be active in the dark. etc.The other tool is the attribution of meaning and value. After all you need to understand what is going on in your environment in order to take the proper actions related to survival. If you do not properly interpret the people in your office etc you will soon be fired.

You need to know when to fight and when to run.

All cultural ideologies are nothing but tools of survival.

The refinement and the complexity doesn't change anything. ... however sophisticate the culture we remain what we are .. forever, like the crows in the tree .. you can paint their beaks, send them to singing class... it will not help.

Um. Your first paragraph - nonsense. Life/nature is what it is. Doesn't need a mind made concept such as meaning.

@ Ron

If you happen to walk through a forerst, you are wel advised to give meaning and value to what you see, otherwise an wild animal, or untrained dog may harm you. You might do the same to differentiate between fruits of trees an mushrooms if you want to benefit from them.

And walking through a slum you are better advised to attribute meaning and value to what you encounter otherwise it could be your last day.

You can call that nonsense

Um. Words are difficult in that they can have many different connotations or ‘meanings; actual linguistic meanings as opposed to self-endowed emotional investments. You seem to be using the word meaning as in ‘to invest’. In the sense of understanding science or nature, the usual (often unconscious) intent is to invest or endow something with a quality it may or may not have; such as the confusion over the covid and lock-down issues where some imagined a set of devious ‘meanings’ behind doctors and health officials’ intentions.

You don’t have to give ‘meaning’ to fruits or trees and mushrooms; they have no meaning, purpose or intent – except their purpose (to call it that) is to be mushrooms; i.e., to grow, release its spore and die. They have their own unique natures, not requiring any sort of meaning or purpose – except that which we invest them with.

Yes, of course it’s important to recognise and to know the ‘nature’ of a wild animal, either to avoid or run away from it; but it does not have with any sort of meaning – accept the meaning we invent for it.

To end my comments; meaning is not inherent in nature, science, the universe, humans or anything – excepting the so-called meaning we habitually choose to invest them with; and that sort of ‘meaning’ only describes our own, personal interpretations on life.

Oh, I thought it was all cut and dried, you mean there's a few things you haven't figured out yet? You told him he was behaving as if stupidity was a virtue. If he's making it into a virtue, YOU'RE making IT into A bloody science.

Oh, I thought it was all cut and dried, you mean there's a few things you haven't figured out yet? You told him he was behaving as if stupidity was a virtue. If he's making it into a virtue, YOU'RE making IT into A bloody science.

Posted by: Joe | February 13, 2023 at 07:06 PM

One thing we can all agree on—scientist or religionist—we’re all going to die. 😀

While it’s usually far less dire than it used to be, getting the Covid is always a bit scary. (Admittedly, part of the scary is conditioning from earlier on, that no longer applies. But still.)

Glad you haven’t had it bad, Brian. That is the norm, actually, these days, not getting it bad; but on the other hand, there still are instances when that’s not so. Not long back, a friend of mine, a doctor himself, caught the thing, and, although young enough, had it bad. He’s better now, but it took a while. I’m glad you seem to have got away without any severe symptoms, that rebound notwithstanding.

All of that, about the Paxlovid rebound thing was interesting. I hadn’t known. (Heh, Covid fatigue, I suppose, in terms of no longer reading up every bit that’s being reported about it, like one used to in times past. Thanks for posting that detail, and linking to the report.)

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