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natureculturenothing


Banned User

Posted Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 12:11am Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

Dear Stephen,

First of all, hello. I have something of a critical email, in that I would like to take you up on your position concerning rational enquiry, but, although this will take up the majority of this letter the majority of my feeling and intent are contained in these two short sentences. Namely: Thank you for being so extraordinarily lovely. And. Your presence in my consciousness, transmitted here via the World Brain, is so very illuminating and pleasant, like a favourite lamp-shade.

Please keep these most genuine of feelings in your heart while I rip into a section of your brain.

In the last QI I watched, and in keeping with [at least what I know of] your views on reality and rationality, you voiced the opinion that scientists' default setting is "I don't know". This may well be true, but is it not fair to say that many scientists are unhappy with this state of affairs; and even that science regards what it cannot explain with some contempt? To give one example of many, the 97 per cent of DNA that scientists have not found a use for have been termed "junk DNA". Why is it not called "mystery DNA"? You might call this an accident of nomenclatural indolence, and it might so be, but it could also been seen as just another case in which what cannot be understood is dismissed or cheapened. There are many more examples. Take early anthropologists descriptions of the societies they encountered as primitive, barbaric and in some cases actually mentally ill. In addition, it is worth pointing out that a great many things that science has "known" have turned out to range from the demonstrably false to the psychopathically brutal. I need hardly go into the consequences, for example, lived out by millions, of treating human beings as rational wealth-maximising automatons.

Anyway, this is all a little besides the point. Something of an introduction. I have noticed that you use religion as a straw man to extol the virtues of rational enquiry. Religion is clearly nuts, childish superstition of the most top rank. Dawkins does the same. It is not difficult to tear apart the "truth" of the Bible or the Koran, or to laugh at newspaper astrology columns or homeopathy or what have you.

The thing is old scout, and forgive me if you've heard this before, but the rational scientific view of the world that now predominates in the media of the west was born out of the monotheistic Abrahamic religions that it is so scornful of. The idea (and it was always an idea) of an abstract (and male) transcendent deity, distinct from world affairs (and most especially from nature) is a relatively recent view that started in the near East and slowly spread into Europe. Before this (and, for the sake of brevity I'll leave out a few exceptions) the predominate view of reality was that it was (like a female) a mysterious and lovingly productive immanent whole. This view was never completely lost, it bubbled up in some esoteric strands of Buddhism (notably Zen), Sufism, Taoism, Advaita and some uncatagorisable hotch-potches in such places as Japan, but was almost completely subsumed by the new idea of the Sun God and later of Zeus, Jehova, Allah and the rest of their divine gentleman's club whose myths all portray the one transcendental God overcoming the snake and the woman (symbols of the earlier imminent view) and replacing it by abstract meaning; "God in heaven", or 'the word'. If these religions (and they are what most people understand by the word religion) had not removed meaning from the world, science would not have been able to study it objectively. As you know, science was born out of Muslim and Christian attempts to understand "brute nature".

My point is this Mr Stephen Fry and I beg you to consider or reconsider it, because it is a subtle one, easily lost in the rather crude theist-athiest debate. Reality, and by reality I mean this present moment, the whole experience of what is happening now, is, at heart, mysterious; meaning that it is greater than any little idea we can have about it, scientific or religious. When we love anything, really love, we put aside our ideas in exchange for a soft wide attentive and just can't believe it wow. Science has its place, of course, it is useful in so many ways - not least of all in cutting up the absurd pronouncements of pretenders - but it can never reach naked experience, which precedes the thought of it. To put rational thought and intellectual knowledge at the forefront of experience is to place the cart, beautiful and useful as it is, before the living horse; a frustrating experience as you once so memorably expressed thus: trying to reason yourself happy is like trying to reason yourself six inches taller.

I could go on, offering much more by way of evidence and example, but I know you are a busy man. I would cut off two fingers and eat them for the chance to discuss this matter with you, but in lieu of that I will simply ask you to look into the thin sliver of mystery that lies between the twin towers of science and superstition, and see if there might be something there. I will also direct you to my blog - http://www.gentleapocalypse.com - and, finally, I will return back to the start of this letter, with a the friendliest of gestures, a slow bow, and, on rising, the gentlest and most sincere of smiles.

Thank you Stephen,

Darren Allen

www.gentleapocalypse.com

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stuebos


Member

Posted Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 8:45pm Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

Eventhough you wrote this for Stephen - I can't help but reading it, and wanting to reply on it. So 'scuse me, but I just have to.

I, being rather new here, and this being the fab world wide, have no clue on who you are or what your background is, natureculturenothing, but there are a few arguments I can't help but poking at.

Yes, it were people who prayed to a certain God or Gods or whatnot who, in the past, made great leaps in not just science, but also in knowledge (note: sciene isn't the same as knowledge). True. BUT - religion and science live apart from things. Somewhere I can't help concluding from your arguments in the fifth *have to try and use the right word here* paragraph, that what you're saying there is basically the same as 'a black man pushed an old lady in front of a moving van - and so black people push old ladies in front of vans, because they are black people'. Science and a search for gaining knowledge wasn't done primarily for the sake of religion... because usually they'd just come up with a new god or a new characteristic of their already exciting god(or gods). People did it out of curiosity and to gain new ideas and understanding for new technologies (the wheel, fire, or something as simple as a cup).

And you say science came from Christian and Muslim people??! Really? Are you sure? Because of course we all know the stories of the famous Christians Aristotle and Socrates? Or how about the Muslim Pythagoras? Pardon me for being bit of an arse about it, but you have to realise you are wrong on that statement. Yes, lots and lots of Christians and Muslims are responsible for lots of important scientific research and discoveries. Sometimes, indeed, yes, in order to understand their god more - or more specifically to understand the nature that their god has created more.

Yet, a characteristic of scientists is to be critical. But at the same time, you want to be factual. You can't go on about something you don't know. You can't answer it, so you shouldn't. And scientists aren't meant to be romantic or quizzicle. Critical, yes. But if you ask one what they see when they see a horse (again, horses... why?), they'll likely say a horse, or a moving organism or a piece of meat. They're supposed to be direct and not romantic. A horse is a horse, and not a Disney character with a persona and feelings.


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natureculturenothing


Banned User

Posted Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 9:07pm Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

@stuebos

...religion and science live apart from things.

Which is the sad truth, to be sure

Science and a search for gaining knowledge wasn't done primarily for the sake of religion...

I am not saying that science is done for the sake of [monotheistic] religion, but that they both approach truth in the same way.

And you say science came from Christian and Muslim people??!

No, but I can see how what I have written is a little misleading there. I shall address the point below...

Because of course we all know the stories of the famous Christians Aristotle and Socrates? Or how about the Muslim Pythagoras?

The Greeks saw reality denuded of an imminent divinity (their myths of abstract transcendent male gods overcoming a female imminent reality dramatise their domination of older European peoples in much the same way as the Vedas and the Hebrew creation myths do: see Campbell, Taylor, Gimbutas, et al) and it was this approach which scientific reconnaissance and enlightenment thinkers seized on. In other words Christians, Muslims, Greeks and scientists all took their fundamental view of reality from the same Aryan/Indo European approach.

www.gentleapocalypse.com

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stuebos


Member

Posted Sat Apr 3rd, 2010 2:20am Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

@ your first comment: religion and science are never going to be one, it's never meant to be 'one'. Religion focusses on the spiritual, which is personal and abstract. Science focusses on fact. And that fact can be with or without a god, as I have said before. Thus it cannot be sad. To have an illusion on science and religion becoming one, is being unkind and untruthful to reality.

Then you go on on 'their view of reality'. Which changed constantly! I mean, great Greek and Latin *I call them Latin, eventhough I might ought to call them Roman* thinkers' scriptures, for a long, long time, weren't available to 'Westerners', because they were in the East! And still they got along fine. And you're being contradictory with yourself: At first you suggest everything comes from the far East (eventhough Judaism started roughly at the same time as the first historical 'far East') - and then you call it an Aryan/Indo European approach, without naming the Jews (seriously, plenty of smart Jews in history) - and you name the Enlightment which focussed on somethings which weren't 'kosjur' with the Christian or Muslims religion, at the time. Somewhere you're mixing things up here.


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natureculturenothing


Banned User

Posted Sat Apr 3rd, 2010 10:12am Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

Religion and science are never going to be one,

I didn't say that they are going to be one.

Mr Stuebos. This is the FOURTH time that you have responded to something I have neither said, nor implied. I realise that English is not your native language, but I feel you are rather over-eager to make-assumptions

And that fact can be with or without a god, as I have said before.

And as I have said before the meaning of "god" is not restricted to Judaism/Christianity/Islam/Greece/Rome and other abstract worshipping ideals. There is an older experience of divinity which does not see the mysterious as something apart from or other, but as immediate and 'material'. This experience has since resurfaced, as mentioned above, in many beloved mystic and artistic traditions which scientists are ill-equipped to criticise.

Then you go on on 'their view of reality'. Which changed constantly!

Superficially it 'changed constantly', but the truth was always an abstraction, an idea, something to be reached, attained, arrived at, thought about and stored.

I mean, great Greek and Latin *I call them Latin, eventhough I might ought to call them Roman* thinkers' scriptures, for a long, long time, weren't available to 'Westerners', because they were in the East! And still they got along fine. And you're being contradictory with yourself: At first you suggest everything comes from the far East (eventhough Judaism started roughly at the same time as the first historical 'far East') - and then you call it an Aryan/Indo European approach, without naming the Jews (seriously, plenty of smart Jews in history) - and you name the Enlightment which focussed on somethings which weren't 'kosjur' with the Christian or Muslims religion, at the time. Somewhere you're mixing things up here.

Yes Semitic people do not seem to be immediately related with Indo-Europeans. I suspect that, around 4 - 2000BC there was in fact critical contact, but it is not my point which is that 'religion' as we understand the term is worship of an abstraction, an ('male') idea, outside of here and outside of now. This religion has some common roots; Aryan, Indo-European and, yes, Semitic people who spread the abstraction, elsewhere- and elsewhen-worshipping God (and, alongside stratification of society into classes, hatred of women, love of war, etc) around the world we are familiar with. Science is a direct descendant of these religions in that it also focuses on abstraction, on a truth that is outside of here and now (purely mental). This is why vocal critics of religion do not pay much attention to the teachings of Buddha, Lao Tzu, the Jesus of Thomas, Jacob Boehme, the Sufis, Meister Eckharte, the Upanishads, Gurdjieff and others who take their inspiration not from "religion" as is understood in the west, but from "reality" as it was once experienced, a mysterious IMMEDIATE apocalypse of intelligence, lovingly productive, like a female (not a 'woman God' - e.g. a female version of JAHWEH - as recent anthropologists mis-interpret) and PRE-thought, in that thought comes afterwards. This is equally insane to the scientific and religious world-view, because the scientific and religious world-view are basically the same.

www.gentleapocalypse.com

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katysara


Moderator

Posted Sun Apr 4th, 2010 5:55pm Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

For your info natureculturenothing has been banned for his behaviour on another thread, his/her general behaviour and behaviour in PMs.

I am an administrator on this site.

"Having a great intellect is no path to being happy."
~ Stephen Fry

See my website: www.katysaraculling.com

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SopranoAscends


Member

Posted Fri Jun 18th, 2010 1:38am Post subject: Regarding Stephen's Scientism: My Hard Thought Letter in a Soft Love Bun

katysara said:
For your info natureculturenothing has been banned for his behaviour on another thread, his/her general behaviour and behaviour in PMs.

Oh, thankyoujesus! And you, too, Katysara. The tip off should be when a poster begins with long effusive flatteries.

www.sopranoascending.wordpress.com

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