Re: virus: Logic

Nathaniel Hall (
Tue, 07 Oct 1997 21:54:32 -0600

Nathaniel Hall wrote:

> chardin wrote:
> > > From: Nathaniel Hall <>
> > > To:
> > > Subject: Re: virus: Logic
> >
> > >
> > >
> > > Chardin wrote:
> > >
> > >>
> > > >
> > > > I enjoy a good debate and am especially interested in beliefs vs.
> > > > reality and "how we know what we know." Also, while I think the
> > > > scienifitic method is good, I feel that science and scientists have
> > > > become the new "religion" and priests of our age.
> > >
> > > Religion is a belief system with faith considered as a legitimate means to knowledge. Faith is a
> > > belief independent of logic or the senses. Science would be better described as an "ideology or
> > > philosophy" rather than a religion because science by it's very nature is opposed to faith.
> > >
> >
> > Your definition of "faith" is interesting. It is as though it is an
> > ephemeral cloud that appears out of nowhere and rests upon a
> > person's head.
> Exactly. Most of the time it's a rather old cloud passed from generation to generation from some half
> starved folks who made it up in the first place.
> > Most of the people of faith I have encountered have
> > "reasons" for what they believe.
> Then is it faith we are talking about here?
> > While it is true that many people
> > are instilled with a religious belief as children and find it hard to
> > question that, it still does not follow that they have no reasons for
> > their belief. Their reasons may not seem valid to you, but it does
> > not follow that in their scheme of things, the reasons are not
> > logical.
> Logic is a non-contradictory chain of reasoning built on known facts. What facts are they building on?
> (My experience is they build instead on a certain book and take that as undeniable proof )
> >
> >
> > When I speak of science as a religion and scientists as a new breed
> > of priests, I do this based upon experience. I have a good friend
> > who is an atheist who nonetheless looks to science, in my opinion, as
> > a religion. He gives great credence to anything published in
> > scientific journals. Science has become so technical today and
> > the jargon so alien to normal vocabular, that one might as well say
> > the mass is given in Latin. When you press him for particulars about
> > a particular methodology in science, he admits that he does not
> > understand himself but has "faith" in those who do understand it,
> > namely, the guys in white coats(the new priestly garb).
> That's too bad. Tell him good science first and foremost is based on good experiments. Theories come
> and go but experimental results are good forever.
> > His basis for doing this is that of
> > "peer review." There again, he puts faith in this method of keeping
> > the boys/girls in white honest. I, on the other hand, as a skeptic and
> > observer of the system, see potential for "ole boys club" and
> > collusion or if you prefer the ole "scratch-my-back- and-I'll-scratch
> > yours-routine. Granted, on the surface it does seem like the system
> > ought to work and many times it no doubt does, yet it still leaves a lot
> > of room for error. I think it did work in the infamous Cold Fusion
> > case, but that was a hard science issue that could be proved false or
> > true by experimentation--rather quickly. In medical science, for
> > example, I don't think it can
> > work as well as there are too many variables and conducting human
> > trials are more difficult. This leads to all the wild claims--salt
> > is bad for you, cholesterol values have meaning (good and bad), milk
> > probably causes "hardening of the arteries." etc. etc. etc.
> Do you know that most ulcers are usually caused by a particular bacterium? The "old boys" network was
> rigidly opposed to this idea at first. Drug companies with billions to lose in the antacid business
> certainly didn't like the idea. (The fellow who made the discovery referred to the drug company-doctor
> alliance as the "acid mafia") Still this nobody doctor from Australia prevailed. Why? Because he was
> right, because he could prove it.
> >
> >
> > The point I disliked about Dawkins article "Viruses of the
> > Mind" was his continual thumping of the table to show that if only all
> > these sick religious people would think critically, objectively, etc.
> > as scientists, then the world would be better. The truth of the
> > matter is that scientists, as human creatures, fall victum to all
> > those same evils that afflict others, i.e., excessive ego, greed,
> > power grab, etc. The publish or perish syndrome, the race for
> > grants, the funding of the pharmaceutical industry, the desire for
> > patent rights, all of these affect science so that "pure" science is
> > difficult to find.
> Then I'm much worse than Dawkins. Not only do I claim faith is a vice, but that rational self interest
> is the good , and capitalism as the only moral form of government! I'd like to take credit for all
> the arguments leading up to this amazing set of beliefs but Ayn Rand gets the credit here.
> The Nateman