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Old 28-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #1
Barrett Dorko
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Default Exhausted

Quote:
The best scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper.

E.O. Wilson
I hadn’t prepared a blog post for today and wakened this morning knowing that. I’ve got a few partially prepared but that’s not good enough.

Sitting here in the restaurant I came across this quote from one of the world’s greatest thinkers, a man I used to refer to at the beginning of every course. No one had ever heard of him. In fact, I doubt many here will bother to find out who he is. Too many key strokes.

In any case, what Wilson says here went right through me when I first saw it and still does. These days I find myself embroiled in the conflict that often arises between thinking and doing, between the appearance of practice and actual practice, between attending to a physician’s wishes and doing what I know neuroscience indicates is far more reasonable.

It’s exhausting.
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Old 28-04-2012, 04:32 PM   #2
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Quote:
The predisposition to religious belief is an ineradicable part of human behavior. Mankind has produced 100,000 religions. It is an illusion to think that scientific humanism and learning will dispel religious belief. Men would rather believe than know... A kind of Darwinistic survival of the fittest has occurred with religions... The ecological principle called Gause's law holds that competition is maximal between species with identical needs... Even submission to secular religions such as Communism and guru cults involve willing subordination of the individual to the group. Religious practices confer biological advantage. The mechanisms of religion include (1) objectification (the reduction of reality to images and definitions that are easily understood and cannot be refuted), (2) commitment through faith (a kind of tribalism enacted through self-surrender), (3) and myth (the narratives that explain the tribe's favored position on the earth, often incorporating supernatural forces struggling for control, apocalypse, and millennium). The three great religion categories of today are Marxism, traditional religion, and scientific materialism... Though theology is not likely to survive as an independent intellectual discipline, religion will endure for a long time to come and will not be replaced by scientific materialism.
bold mine.

I have yet to read that book you suggested about religion being natural and science not. I'm not trying to say anything about religion here, but facing the fact that it is simply not in our nature to think this way helps me a great deal when discussing this stuff with people who are entrenched in their own belief system. Recognizing that, without some regular mental clean-up, I am likely to move in the same direction is very liberating.

It is so much easier to choose Scientist Poet or Bookkeeper and just camp there. Moving back and forth requires repeatedly disconnecting from our natural tendency to settle.
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Old 28-04-2012, 04:57 PM   #3
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Reminds me of a quote from another "wise guy":
Quote:
Knowing is not enough, we must apply; willing is not enough, we must do.

-Goethe
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Old 28-04-2012, 06:20 PM   #4
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In case anyone’s wondering, this is the quote from E.O. Wilson’s Consilience:

Quote:
Few claims in science are accepted as final. But as evidence piles upon evidence and theories interlock more firmly, certain bodies of knowledge do gain universal acceptance. They ascend a scale of credibility from
“interesting”
to “suggestive”
to “persuasive”
to “compelling.”

And given enough time thereafter, “obvious.”
I tell them that they may have come to the workshop because the brochure looked “interesting.” It’s my job to move them toward “obvious.”
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Old 28-04-2012, 10:14 PM   #5
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For me the traditional mesodermal apporach to pain stopped short at 'persuasive'. The more current pain science I found 'obvious'

Last edited by advantage1; 28-04-2012 at 10:14 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 28-04-2012, 10:29 PM   #6
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It's a great quote, isn't it?
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Old 29-04-2012, 08:20 AM   #7
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Another great quote from a remarkable man:
Quote:
“If we wish to draw philosophical conclusions about our own existence, our significance, and the significance of the universe itself, our conclusions should be based on empirical knowledge. A truly open mind means forcing our imaginations to conform to the evidence of reality, and not vice versa, whether or not we like the implications.”
― Lawrence M. Krauss, A Universe from Nothing: Why There is Something Rather Than Nothing
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Old 29-04-2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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There is apparently a Consilience conference being held at the moment about Wilson's work/book/ideas. Massimo is currently blogging about it. I don't read Rationally Speaking very much and I still don't have a good opinion of Massimo's opinions. Though according to his earlier blog, he is skeptical of Wilson's idea of Consilience. Haven't read into yet, but seemed to fit here.

http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/
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Old 29-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #9
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Thanks guys. I'll have to listen to that podcast. I have trouble staying with Rationally Speaking though. Those guys giggle too much.

Here is a related thread from a year ago.
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