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#292955 - 02/18/10 11:14 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: fredk]
Luke Smith Offline
buff

Registered: 01/13/10
Posts: 43
Loc: Brisbane, Queensland, Australi...
 Originally Posted By: fredk
Pain avoidance? Seems to be a very basic and strong motivator in all living beings.


Sure, I understand the reluctance to change our habits. But to blame science and scientists when the same science and scientists delivered the life to which they have become accustomed - I find it all a bit humorous.

That said theres crazyness abound in this debate.

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#292956 - 02/18/10 11:36 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: Luke Smith]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6622
Loc: It's all about the location.
Who is "blaming" scientists and what are they being blamed with? people have a right to ask questions so they can be better informed. How many scientists have told us for instance, that something is bad for your health, only to say the exact opposite a few years later? I'm not trying to torch scientists, I'm just saying that they should expect some questions from free-thinking people when they make certain claims. It hurts nobody to ask questions. Years ago they said coffee was unhealthy for us, now apparently it's got antioxidants in it and they're saying it's good for us.
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#292957 - 02/18/10 11:47 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: Adrian]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7217
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
How many scientists have told us for instance, that something is bad for your health, only to say the exact opposite a few years later?

Truth seems to be a hard concept to grasp. We all seem to want a 'hard' truth that will stay with us forever. That only works for a limited few things like, say, dead. ;\)

For most things, the truth is a moving target. At times it can change radically based on new information or dicovouries.

Truth is also often a filtered perspective on reality. Your position affects the nature of a 'truth'.

There was a really interesting article in Scientific American a couple of years ago on what the universe looks like. Our view of it is often very limited by our visual bias.
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#292977 - 02/19/10 01:53 AM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: fredk]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
 Originally Posted By: fredk

Its not about how science is devolving, its about the politicization of science: people using science as a lever for an end goal without caring much about the actual science. Political ideology, left or right is not particularly helpful in the current debate on climate change.


Being a social construct science can not exist in a society w/o being socially influenced. When science is politicized and used to support ideologies supported by the polity (state), it in turn decides what "science" is taught and often funded. In most Western democracies the basic education system is state run and therefore politicized by default. Universities, even departments have there own "politics" which if you deviate from enough you don't get a job. When the researchers being hired in a field are filtered out by their politics it undermines a basic premise of science. Perhaps I'm wrong but I think we mean mostly the same thing but are just saying it differently.

 Quote:

Most people view the left and right as a linear scale. I see it more like a circle with communism on the extreme left and fascism on the extreme right ending up being much the same thing in a different guise. In both cases the world of politics and economic endeavor are completely controlled by one group. They hate each other so much because they are exactly the same and thus occupy the exact same niche. They are both equally unsustainable.

The best is when there is some sort of balance of power between the 'left' social and the 'right' economic/business. The Scandinavian countries seem to do this balancing trick the best and have both strong social programs and strong economies.


I agree completely, but would add that it doesn’t have to be and usually isn’t a dichotomy. We’re just use to seeing it that way.

 Quote:

That is not a failure of science, but a failure of the application of science. There are also branches of every scientific area that examine large scale systems.

Sometimes, very simple science can quite elegantly explain seemingly complex things. Robotics have done some really cool things in understanding some basic bug behavior by putting together robots with as little as 6 simple pieces of decision making logic.

We as a species have a bias toward the simple and immediate that leads to a failure in the application of things discovered by 'science'.


I agree with everything but the first part. I agree that science is misapplied for various reasons however, I don't see it as just a misapplication but rather an inherent "flaw" in that science by it's nature is deconstructionist. Science must deconstruct the universe to understand it since it's improbable that one could understand everything all at one. So I see no other way for science to operate than to dole out "knowledge" as it becomes available even when some might want it suppressed. The result is sometimes unintended consequences that the level of research had yet to uncover.

 Quote:

Again, this is the politicization of science, this time by the left.

The political left has seized upon CO2 as its big stick and has chosen it as its primary weapon in the war-on-climate. The world of science has known about the risks/issues of methane as a greenhouse gas for quite a while.

The short term suppression of 'contradictory' evidence in the scientific community is a short term issue that deserves to be brought to light and corrected. The right wing claim that it is 'smoking gun' proof that all climate science is false is yet another politicization of science. The right's next big stick in the war.


I agree that this is the politicization of science but much of this politicization is being done by "scientists" themselves when they sign public policy petitions, and speak or publish advocating policy.

 Quote:

It is a tool. No more, no less. It needs to be applied properly and judiciously to help us better understand our place in this world and how to best manage it. Pure science is the best tool for figuring out the how of things. Applied science is an art that requires pulling together multiple disciplines to achieve a goal or objective.


I find the tool analogy of science wanting. It presupposed that science inanimate like a hammer and it's the wielder who imparts intent. However, science is not inanimate it's social and can not by it's nature exist outside a social/cultural context of it‘s wielders. So there is IMO (and the opinion of sociologist who study science) that no such thing as a pure science devoid of cultural/ideological biases can exist.

Science can only be declared the "best tool for figuring out the how of things" if one defines what is "best." That's just a sort of circular reasoning. Since we don't know what the outcome of our "scientific" societies is, it's hard for me to quantify what's best. In the short run science rocks my living room with 9.2 sound and 134" screen, but if I'm dead or living underground with a few other survivors 5 years from now because the atmosphere passed some unknown tipping point we've missed I might want to re-evaluate what is “best.”

 Quote:

Truth seems to be a hard concept to grasp. We all seem to want a 'hard' truth that will stay with us forever. That only works for a limited few things like, say, dead.

For most things, the truth is a moving target. At times it can change radically based on new information or dicovouries.

Truth is also often a filtered perspective on reality. Your position affects the nature of a 'truth'.

There was a really interesting article in Scientific American a couple of years ago on what the universe looks like. Our view of it is often very limited by our visual bias.


I’m in complete agreement.
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#292978 - 02/19/10 01:54 AM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: grunt]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana





 Originally Posted By: JaimeG

Science is not a religion. It's a process.


Science is by it's nature a social process and can not therefore can not be separated from the cultures/beliefs/ideologies in which it is embedded. From the foundations of what is taught in school to it's sources of funding science is socially/financially biased to it's core. So even scientists who don't come forward and use their research to justify the direction of public policy are still mired in a tainted system. Studying the sociology of science quickly shows one that the idea of scientists being dispassionate researchers pushing forward human knowledge w/o bias is a myth.

Science has been so co-opted by those in power thru public education that it's become the new defacto state religion in many places and for many people. I read a fantastic critique of Western education (including Soviet) by a couple of Russian's back in the 70s that talks about this very subject brilliantly.

In the greater context large organized religions evolved (if you believe in the science) in part to explain (or help people know and relate to the world) and help those seeking power control masses of people. Science supplanted religion for the knowing the world for many people. And It's most vocal proponents (often communists and socialists seeking to minimize religion) have used it to justify how people should relate to each other.

 Quote:

Please do not confuse religion with morality. More religion certainly does not equal more morality. Looking at how most people judge the behavior of people who literally interpret their religion it would seem obvious to me that the exact opposite is true.


I'm not communicating clearly when I talk about religion. Not all religion is Judeo/Christian. I try when it's not obvious from the context to be clear when I am referring them. I say this because I've seldom not met or read about devout Buddhists and Taoists who were not the most moral people ever.

 Quote:

The good and the bad morality that is documented by religion comes from the mouths of humans. The good messages in religion are unoriginal and largely common sense. The bad moral messages in religion are gleefully glossed over... how do we decide which morals we should take from religion?


If everyone agreed on what is common sense there would not have ever been a need for religion, ideology or methods for group decision making to evolve. That we seem to need such structures to support/glue our societies together is all the evidence I need that “sense” is either not all that common and/or universal.

People develop their morals largely through interactions with "significant others" (parents teachers, clergy, professors). Which morals people chose to follow be the whether derived from religious or secular sources is usually what is most convenient or what they can get away with at the time. I think Cam describe how we come by our morals quite well.

 Quote:

We use our inherent morality. If we have such good inherent morality why would we need to take any queues from religion?


I'm not aware of any inherent morality. Humans can not survive outside of social contexts (even if raised by wolves). So there is no way to know what is a pure "inherent" moral and one that is socially learned/influenced. What society even modern do we have a knowledge of that did/does not have "religion" (belief system)?

 Quote:

To take the writings of a few humans around 1500 years ago and take them to be our moral compass in modern society is foolish, at best.

Why?

It's not foolish to learn from history. Modern intellectuals pride themselves on being so much smarter than people in times gone by, however there are many things the ancients knew and could do that we have trouble figuring out today. We can see the same patterns repeated throughout history because people find the social/cultural/moral knowledge of their predecessors inconvenient in relation to present social addenda’s. The reasoning is always that we are smarter and know more than they did. Invariably we end up repeating the same mistakes. It's happening again right now as it always is.

 Quote:

It's fairly ironic that all these global warming deniers were happy enough to consume the results of scientific process by buying cars and packaged food... yet when science starts telling them that they should probably rethink their habits they are wanting to burn science at the stake. How does that morality (or logic) work?


No irony that I see. People behave selfishly today just as moral compass definers of 1500, 3000 years ago understood. Enjoying the fruits of industrialization is easy since the "scientific process" is telling us just to enjoy the new toys not how they should/shouldn’t be used. When "science" does tell us how to use the toys we baulk at it, fighting even things like seatbelt and helmet laws designed to protect us. Unlike being the catalyst for our new toys the "scientific process" is now telling us we can't play with them the way we have become accustomed to. In other words the "scientific process" is trying to establish what is right and wrong. Morality?

Many people born in the West since WWII are accustomed to a lifestyle and level of progress unparalleled in human history and have come to believe it the norm. Just as they have come to believe that increasing standards of living through the progression of technology is the norm. I think we are in for a rude awakening.

While I've enjoyed this exchange I think we are at an impasse based on our different education/experiences are bogging down in semantics and increasingly chasing eachothers tails in ever smaller circles. Please don’t take it as me being rude if I drop out of the discussion on some points as I don’t see how further comments will further help to clarify some things.

Cheers,
Dean
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#292979 - 02/19/10 01:58 AM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: Da_Gimp_Pimp]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
 Originally Posted By: wheelz999
Science really came about, exploding in the 16th and 17th century out of a theistic background. Many philosophers of science have studied this, but I forget what it's called (maybe Grunt can help me out). So in a sense, yes, science is a religion (Edit-or this is at least one strong current theory). Saying this, I favor science.

Being an atheist and anti-theist, I wholeheartedly agree with everything else you said, Luke. I'm also an anarchist (following the teachings of Bakunin), and would extend morality to controlling all of life, therefore no laws etc. There isn't one law that stops me from doing something because I may face jurisprudence or end up in jail. But rather my morality guides me through life, choosing not to do something because I've been taught, formulated on my own, or experience that it or something is morally corrupt.



Cam for the record I am also an atheist and have been for as long I I've know what it means, but not an anti-theist as I can not prove god(s) don't exist so I'm not comfortable pushing IMO un-provable beliefs on others. I was even invited to leave vacation bible school after a couple of days when I was about 6 because I kept arguing with the teachers about creation because it didn't fit the "science." I’m sure at least a couple of people reading this have thought that I am a religious person and taken my statements in that context so I’ll clear that up right now.

I do however, take exception to those who trash religion based on a selective reading of history and then turn around and give secular belief systems a pass with the same selectivity. Though young, secular belief systems have slaughtered more of their own people both in numbers and as a percentage of population than any religion I know of. They have also been the direct or indirect causes of the greatest loss of life in warfare. Sadly secularist are so focused on the evils of religion they haven't seen when the nature of their own belief systems are turning on them.
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#293060 - 02/19/10 04:25 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: bigwill2]
Da_Gimp_Pimp Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 4041
Loc: Sitting down somewhere
 Originally Posted By: bigwill2

OK, I got a problem with this. If man is a part of nature, not the image of a divinity, merely another species in the animal kingdom... what kind of arrogance would imbue him with an inherent morality non-existant in the rest of nature. Nature is amoral. All of God's critters are running around killing each other without compunction.


Yes, human beings are animals, but no, a supernatural being didn't create a thing, because there is no such being. But, let's say there is a God. Why would that "perfect" being create something with innate immorality? If nature is amoral, as you claim, then it must be innate.

Comparing nature and the animal kingdom to human beings, in regards to morality, just doesn't make sense. All animals that are carnivores, kill only for their survival. Even if animals (outside of the apes) were cognizant of morality, nothing would change; there's no checkout aisle at the grocery store specifically for lion's purchasing organically fed free range zebras.

Chimpanzees (our closest relative) are altruistic (a form of morality), they care for each other etc. They act just as moral human beings do.

I would contend that any rational human being would consider it immoral if another human being (totally cognizant) took a crap on the floor and someone's house, but they wouldn't consider it immoral if a baby or a dog did the same thing. Just as it would be immoral for a human if they grabbed food from a table without consent, but it doesn't make it immoral if the dog does the same; simply because they have no sense of morality.
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#293063 - 02/19/10 05:20 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: Da_Gimp_Pimp]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6622
Loc: It's all about the location.
Actually Cam, there are species of animals that kill just for sport, they don't necessarily kill only for food. Tigers have been known to do this, not sure about other preditors, but I agree, most animals kill for survival or to protect an area they consider their 'turf'(land or mate).
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#293064 - 02/19/10 05:24 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: Da_Gimp_Pimp]
a401classic Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 1194
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
Wow. This has really turned into something far different from from the irony of rain in BC,Canada and snow in Louisiana, USA.

Scott
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#293066 - 02/19/10 05:26 PM Re: Maybe Al Gore is onto something... [Re: a401classic]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6622
Loc: It's all about the location.
Naaaahh!! looks like a typical Axiom multi-hijack thread to me! \:D
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