Wednesday, January 18, 2012


In reality, science is locked into a series of dogmas that are largely untested and to some extent untestable, which for science ought to be the great no-no. Yet they must be adhered to, or risk the charge of flakiness and loss of grant. In The Science Delusion, Rupert Sheldrake drags ten of the most powerful dogmas out of the basement and into the light of day; and does science, humanity and the world a large, a considerable favour.

The most obvious and all-prevailing of the great dogmas is that the universe as a whole – including life -- is mechanical. Bits of stuff interact – and that's it. The smaller the bits, the more fundamental the explanation is deemed to be. According to Richard Dawkins, human beings are "lumbering robots", driven by their "selfish" DNA (where "selfish" is a shameless and seriously misleading piece of anthropomorphism). Consciousness, says Boston philosopher Dan Dennett, is an illusion – just the noise that neurons make, although it is hard to see how something that is not itself conscious could suffer from illusions. On the back of this mechanical dogma all metaphysics, which in effect means all religion, is kicked into touch.
Is comment even necessary?

But what if there were other concepts of God? It seems possible that Dr. Stenger and Dr. Pinker have only shown that, for some people, science seems to make belief in certain concepts of God obsolete. Instead of negative definitions of God that fill the void, if we had positive concepts of God that do not lean on the need for comfort, or fill voids like unexplained phenomena, could science make those concepts of God obsolete? What would those concepts look like? Instead of a faith that only has something to offer to those who don't understand a phenomenon, those who are fearful, the comfortless, those near death, or the depressed, what if we had a concept of God independent of gaps and voids? What if we there were concepts of God that had something to offer or add to the fulfilled? What if we had concepts of God based on creativity? On a positive definition of incomprehensible peace? On imaginative joy? On creative, problem-solving love?
What if, what if, what if. What if you weren't just flinging words about? Do you have such a concept or definition? No, you don't. You have blather. Do you realize how transparently desperate this straining about "incomprehensible peace" and "imaginative joy" is? You should do very well with Templeton, Udoewa.

So much commentary on science and religion has devolved into utter stupidity.

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