Re: virus: Science

Patricia & John Crooks (
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 11:32:15 -0500

>> This is a really good point. The difference is that the Catholics still
>> disagree with the Protestants in a way that noboby still believes in a flat
>> earth or geocentric solar system.
Well actually it was the Protestants disagreeing with the Catholics, but I
see your point.

>I think the difference between the two camps re: their ability to
>change is that when a religious dogma

Am I being really nit-picking to say that I really wish you people would
stop tossing the word dogma around like it has no specific meaning? I ask
that seriously. I know dogma has a poplular meaning, but it also has a
specific religious meaning, and we are talking about religion here, are we
not. If we are going to have a meaningful conversation we must recognize we
have different systems of knowledge. Having been to church does not make one
knowledgeable about religion any more than having owned a junior chemistry
set makes one a scientist. Sometimes these conversations sound to me as I
expect I would sound to a scientist if I used the words human and molecule
Dogma is a specific church teaching, generally specific to Catholicism
always specific to Christianity (a small part of religion). What most of
you are referring to when you use the word dogma is the close-minded
attitude of a person or group of people; that isn't dogma. Call it
intellectual arrogance, blind stupidity or whatever, but don't call it
dogma. There is no dogma of any church that I am familiar with that says
"Blessed are the stupid and the bigoted".
Yes, as I think about it I am nit-picking, o.k., I apologize, continue on...

> This is causing the scientific meme to drift away from
>its formal definition and to become something more nebulous than it
>was. We can't have it both ways, either science is a formally defined
>discipline which, within its boundaries, is very good at what it does
>and deserves a certain respect or else it is an all-encompassing
>entity capable of answering any question. Omnipresent,
>omnipotent...what does that sound like to you?

Thank you. You have made my point in a much more concise and erudite manner
than I have been able to summon up.

>I disagree. I think that it's a necessary simplification. If someone
>is brought up strictly within a certain faith, to the point that it
>permeates every aspect of their lives, then it cannot fail to colour
>their view. This is where we are with science. You can't get away
>from it. From the cradle to the grave we are continuously exposed to
>the faith that humanity places in science, and this is as it should
>be (IMO). The benefits that it has brought us are immeasurable. I
>just think we (especially we who share a memetic view) should be
>prepared to take a step backwards and attempt to view science (and
>any other meme) from a point outside itself. Otherwise we cannot be
>sure that we are seeing it clearly.

Again, thank you. This is what I have been harping on, not that science is
bad, but that it is limited, and that people with a scientific worldview
seem to have no less difficulty separating their worldview from objective
truth than do the religious.

>On another level, science as religious dogma is plain for all to see.
>Faith in its abilities abound, among people who don't necessarily
>even know or care what science is. I mean faith here in a very strict
>sense - belief without supporting evidence.

Oooh, I see another nit.:-} I disagree with this as a definition of
religious faith. Belief without supporting evidence is not faith it is
delusion. The religious faithful have a great deal of supporting evidence
only it is experiential.
However I agree with your point, that both the religious and the scientific
amongst us have a tendency to trust our worldview so much that we just
assume it is objectively corroborated.

> In fact, like most
>religious dogmatists, these true believers will hold to their faith
>even in the face of evidence to the contrary e.g. I have come across
>the attitude that 'science has already disproved the existence of
>god' where in actual fact formal science has never to my knowledge
>addressed the issue of gods existence or not. Granted some scientific
>discoveries / theories suggest that 'god as defined by (theology of
>choice) is unlikely' but that is a byproduct and deals only with a
>specific manifestation of a 'supreme being'.

Amen :-}

John Crooks