Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What can science do for you?

When I read Dawkin's "God Delusion" some years ago, I had very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I think he has a good point that monotheistic religious beliefs are well explained by neurological, psychological and social factors playing together.

On the neurological side, because it has proven to be a useful survival strategy, the human brain is constantly trying to make sense of the world. God is a convenient and simple explanation for all and everything and probably a side-effect of the sense-making attempts when other explanations are difficult to come by.

On the psychological side, religions address our fear of death and tell us that life is fair after all, the bad guys will be punished - post mortem. They help us to find meaning in the carelessness of the cosmos.

On the social side, small children are likely to believe what elders tell them; indoctrination at young age is highly efficient and hard to overcome later. We all want to fit in.

I learned an interesting new aspect at the latest FQXi meeting from David Eagleman, though he didn't draw a connection to religious thinking. Most mentally healthy people lead internal monologues. It's an input-output cycle that circumvents the external part of the loop (in which you actually speak and hear your voice). Eagleman spoke about his hypothesis according to which a failure of the brain to correctly time the inner monologue would have you think you "heard" your inner voice before you formulated it yourself, creating the illusion that you are hearing voices.

Evidence for the neurological roots of religious believes is mounting, see eg Kapogiannis, D., et al. "Cognitive and neural foundations of religious belief" or this earlier post. Or, if that's too many words, here's a fluff talk about funny things people believe by Michael Shermer











So, I'm with Dawkins on the origin of religious beliefs.

On the other hand I think religions serve a need of our societies, and the big churches have learned to serve it well. They provide a community for their followers, no entry exam required, and they offer help and advice. They have beautiful architecture and music. This used to be my favorite church song:


It's a variant of Gloria in excelsis deo. So what, really, does science have to offer in comparison?

I think that the biggest problem that science in the 21st century faces is to convince religious people that it has something to offer to them; that scientific thinking brings a value added to their life. Unfortunately, scientists, me included, are not good in sharing this value. Most of us, that is. Carl Sagan did a pretty good job. Neil deGrasse Tyson does too.



When the piano music set in, I felt like puking, and I hate Symphony of Science with a passion. But Tyson's speech has been viewed more than 2 million times, and Symphony of Science is wildly popular, so clearly it speaks to people. And the reason is simple: They're awe-inspiring.

These are both brilliant examples that document so nicely what science can do for you: It tells you what is your place in the universe. It explains how the universe works and how you're part of its working. That's more than any monotheistic religions can offer. In fact, the whole purpose of these religions is to get you to stop asking, to stop thinking.

Shawn Otto has written a book about the US American right's war on science, called "Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America." I haven't read the book and have no intention to but there's an interesting interview with Otto on Daily Kos. Otto makes a case there that
"When one side of the debate is based on knowledge and the other is based on mere belief or opinion, it’s really a battle over freedom versus authoritarianism...

I understand the argument he's trying to lead, but I think it's not going to be successful. This isn't a battle about freedom, it's a battle about happiness. For Otto's argument to work, he'd have to show that a science-based democracy will contribute the most to the societies' well-being. Now, I believe this is indeed the case, but the problem is that Otto can't base his argument on beliefs, otherwise it'll turn upside down. And to my best knowledge there's no scientific proof that democracy and science make people more happy than, say, monarchy and religion. So, in the end we're left with opinions which is why I doubt this will lead anywhere, especially since the "anti-scientific" side isn't burdened by sticking to scientific arguments.

Thus, I think the awe-inspiring approach is much more promising. Chances are, in the course of time, scientific-themed music will become more common (and less sickening). Bjök's Biophilia is maybe a beginning - though that's arguably not everybody's petridish. What science is still lacking though is a broad sense of community that includes the non-professional public. If I had an institute, I'd have a weekly public event, every Sunday morning at 11, open for everybody. We'd summarize this weeks awesome news, see the most amazing images and videos, and talk about a topic that gives everyone something to think about. On occasion, we'd have a guest speaker. After that, we'd all have a brunch and people could stay and talk and make suggestions for the next week.

I think we have a long way to go to convince people that science is more than a collection of numbers and figures, but a way to understand the world and our place in it. But we're well on the way.

44 comments:

Giotis said...

Do you have in mind something like Alain de Botton 'Religion for Atheists'?

Check his videos in http://www.theschooloflife.com/

He gave a TED talk about it too.

Maybe you could setup a school of science like his school of life. Why not?

Of course your job is much more difficult since you have to propose a way of life and not just a way to understand Nature for people to follow.

Philosophy for everyday life (not the abstract one that they teach in the Universities) can do that but for science is much more difficult.

Bee said...

Hi Giotis,

Yes, that's part of what I have in mind, telling people what science has to offer as a answer for their every-day struggles. Though I don't like the emphasis on education which is already captured in the word "school." It just turns off a lot of people which is unfortunate. I'm thinking of something that's more about wonder than solutions, more about belonging than about succeeding, where the "school" aspect is part of it, but the emphasis is on the community. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

I like your idea of the 11:00 a.m. Sunday meetings, yet don’t be surprised to find that they might also be attended by a few appreciative ;deists ;-) Levity aside, I truly don’t understand why so many feel there needs to be a choice made between religion and science, as long as each understands its abilities and limits. That is there is as you say there’s little found enlightening about religion as having one able to know as to how our world works, as I would say there is not much to science that would necessarily lead many to become ethically caring creatures.

In having mentioned that, perhaps strangely enough, there once were meeting held on Saturdays once every month which I so enjoyed as to faithfully attend whenever I could held out at Perimeter Institute. These were dubbed “Black Hole Sessions”, at which a researcher there would attempt either to offer a generally understandable version of what they were working on, or an explanation of a general topic that many there might be working on. What I can tell you is I and many people found them both of high quality and great value; so much so that they inevitably had to be moved from the Bob Room (small lecture room) to the larger Lazaridis theatre. Then one day they were abruptly cancelled, without explanation and never to return. However, I did notice recently there was some attempt to continue something similar with what was called the “Black Hole Science Cafes”, which was to be accomplished via pod cast and yet never really took off. This has always had me to wonder, who should we believe to be the ones to have lost interest and why?

Best,

Phil

Arun said...

Dear Bee,

I think the people you cite are very slick snake-oil salemen. They are just as much charlatans as most purveyors of religion are.

I make the following statements:

Everything we think has to have a neurological basis, nothing surprising there.

The origin of religion is no more explained by these types of neurological findings than the origin of science is.

I don't understand the relevance of "hearing voices". Let's stipulate that say, Jesus (or Moses or Muhammad) heard voices and let's stipulate that it was through this brain mistiming mechanism mentioned in your article. What it doesn't explain is why people chose to follow him.

-Arun

Bee said...

Dear Arun,

Well, I didn't say it explains the origin of religion, or at least I didn't mean to. What I meant is that in my opinion it is a plausible explanation for the origin of religious believes, monotheistic ones in particular. It does that equally well or bad as it explains the origin of science indeed. The point is, you don't need any higher powers to account for either.

Right, hearing voices doesn't explain why people follow religious leaders. As I wrote, it's a combination of neurological, psychological and social factors. At least I think that is a plausible explanation. That hearing voices may be explained by a brain malfunction explains only a certain type of religious experience. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Hi Phil,

In fact, when writing the above I was thinking of the BH sessions! Back then, I gave one of them. I thought it was a great idea (I believe we talked about this already), and I have no clue what happened to that.

I also think however that one could have improved on them. I do not, for example, like very much the format with the speaker and a silent audience (up to some questions in the end). I would prefer something more engaging, more interactive. I also think these lectures were too long, too heavy, and too infrequent. Best,

B.

Phillip Helbig said...

believes ---> beliefs (when a noun)

I once read someone's self-description as a "secular pagan".

Bee said...

Phillip,

Thanks, I fixed that. I was thinking, it looks funny somehow... but then it's a spell-check blind spot. Best,

B.

Eric said...

Hi Bee,
I think science, but mostly physics, has gone off the track lately with its increasingly lower requirement that observation and measurement be a part of its new scientific theories. Peter Woit has had some good blog posts about that, especially lately. I won't go into specifics, but in general I mostly agree with that. If the most public leaders in the field come up with statements that we are all holograms who each have counterparts in a nearly infinite number of other "universes" then who is scamming who? It doesn't make me or you feel very special or needed if there is nearly an infinite number of people exactly like you doing slightly different things in a slightly different environment. If religious myths or physics myths were the only myths available to me I would pick the religious myths in a heartbeat. The modern public face of physics seems incapable of not shooting itself in the foot.

Fortunately those two versions aren't the only choices available to me. I believe in the essential oneness of everything in which the changing faces of what we see are like ripples on the pond that change locally and continually and offer new faces to all us as we watch. But the pond itself never gains or loses. I also think if people could finally understand the essential oneness of things it would be a big improvement over an all powerful but separate god.

Shawn Halayka said...

You are leagues ahead of Richard Dawkins and Brian Cox in terms of intelligence and wisdom.

You're searching for the establishment of what is effectively a church. No, not a building, but a community. That is the actual meaning of the word church, after all.

I imagine that you will be so much more successful in your endeavour, since you seek to unite people rather than totally divide them.

If it doesn't work out, you could always go hang out at the football stadium, worship some sports gods, and then riot, maim and kill when your favourite team loses. I'm sure Brian Cox would love that.

Anyway, if God does exist, and God tried to talk to me, God would get a savage chewing out. No wonder why I don't hear voices. :(

Phillip Helbig said...

@Eric: The universe is under no obligation to please us. Yes, many choices might be nicer than reality, but in reality there is no choice. Whether or not something makes you feel special is not a criterion for determining its truthfulness.

Eric said...

@Philip
Assertions by you are not arguments. Me thinks thou dost protest too much. You should take off your holier than professional mantle occasionally so you could realize you are just being cowardly in following your "leaders". You have never shown me anything of substance or original thinking except this endless repetition of the current conventional thinking in physics.

Uncle Al said...

"The voices in my head never stop for breath."

Religion is turnkey totalitarianism trading promises for real things - alms, obedience, and faith. Gods' dominion is ignorance, poverty, hunger, disease, filth, death, and silk-clad priests with whips. Only those who have faith are tested. The rest of us write our own "Get out of Hell" cards.

trebonian said...

Hi Bee,
One of my favorite scientific videos ever at Perimeter: http://www.pirsa.org/08060002/

It really made me want to be a scientist...

Bee said...

Hi Eric,

Well, you have a point there. However, I think Peter focuses too much on the negative, though understandably so because that's essentially his self-chosen mission. I prefer to focus on the positive: There are people trying very hard to make contact between quantum gravity and phenomenology. There are people looking for new physics in many corners of the parameter space. I think that's good news and in the long run it will cure the speculative philosophies. Best,

B.

Phil Warnell said...
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Phil Warnell said...

Hi Bee,

Sadly I think your black hole session presentation was one of the few due to circumstances I was unable to attend. I also think it was one of the latter ones conducted in the Lazaridis theatre, which lacks the intimacy of the Bob Room and therefore not conducive to the type of gathering I think both of us would prefer. As to the length of the lecture ( when held in the Bob room) they usually included a break in the middle where refreshments were made available in the Black Hole Bistro where smaller groups could meet and assemble to discuss what had thus far been presented and also other things that might be raised. As to their depth I think this depends on the attendees as well as the ability of the presenter to have things explained. More over things can be graduated to range analogically from say Sunday School format, geared for the less familiar, to more challenging ones for those with more advanced interests. Bottom line I’ve long felt as science to be more equated with understanding to have brevity more plays to what is thought to be as of now the religious norm where contemplation leading to questioning not being what’s neither wanted nor required.

In such regard I can recall a meeting that was held after such a session where it was asked of us how such things could be enhanced and improved. The suggestion I made was to take books such as “Quantum Mechanics and Experience” by David Albert, to be used as a text for a series of such meetings to lend focus and to challenge those that attend to study and to think on their own. Needless to say this suggestion was never taken seriously and I’m still left to ask as to why. My own feelings about this, taken from my early experience with PI being resultant that the culture had changed in relation to outreach, that is from one focused upon sharing the passion for the learning of science, to one of having passionate followers not needing to learn; the latter not something I found to be very consistent with either the utility or aspirations of science.

However, I'm still hopeful this might change again and if so I would be one of the first to be there, with my both my passionate interest and even something for the collection plate; as realizing nothing worthwhile should ever be considered as free ;-)

Best,

Phil

A. Mikovic said...

Many people do not like the organized religions, and many of those are atheists. However, there are people who are not religious, but still believe that there is God or that our world is not just an interplay of matter and forces.

Atheism is a religion, but it is not an organized one. Hence the attempts of people like Alain de Botton to organize the atheists.

Science has a limited domain of aplicability, and there are many phenomena which cannot be even approached by the scientific method (common sense + experiments). Also, it can be demonstrated formally, by using the Goedel theorems, that there is no theory of everything.

I think that the best metaphysics for a scientist or a mathematician is a platonic one, since a platonic metaphysics is general enough to accommodate all types of phenomena and ideas. Hence science and God can coexist peacefully in a platonic metaphysics. Also note that the idea of a multiverse is an example of a platonic metaphysics.

Plato said...

The conversation with regard to science and religion is a non starter here. Please do not sell yourself short on what you are capable. Any of you.

Does one verge on the state of confusing them-self as Pirsig did with his daemon?

Listen, in my view one does a disservice to them self denying the ability and recognition that there is a higher intelligence that we are capable of when we see a master planer in the production of the movies of our lives. In dreaming, at a level of observation that exceeds what we are capable in or daily lives. Yet, this is a part of you and has nothing to do with religion.

Think of intuition? I will have more on that and how the thought processes cross my mind of how we can teach ourselves to be better in tune with that process.

You talk about creativity in gathering...gathering what? It's an incubation bed from which all participate in agreeing to this process of exploration and contribution. The Black hole sessions are an example.

I have much more to say about intuition shortly.

Best,

Matti Pitkanen said...

What makes for a scientist so difficult to understand spirituality is the failure to realize that genuine spirituality is not a method to achieve something. For a scientist life is endless struggling to achieve some goal by applying some methods: problem solving, fighting against colleagues, intriguing to get a position, etc..

It is natural that the scientific explanations of spirituality follow the same simple format. For a scientists it is difficult to believe that a person who becomes aware of the existence of higher levels of conscious existence does not calculate that it is good to have this experience since in statisitical sense it maximizes her personal happiness. Neither is this experience is not a result of some method to achieve a relief from a fear of death or of life or to achieve maximal pleasure. It is something completely spontaneous and makes you to realize how extremely limited your everyday consciousness is and how hopelessly it is narrowed down by your ego.

What makes for a member of church so difficult to understand spirituality is that organized religions indeed teach that by applying some method which includes blind belief on dogmas, the registered member of the community can get in contact with God. Even the idea about single God represents example about how the greed for power tends to corrupt spirituality: gods as those conscious entities above us like we above our neutrons are replaced with God- the ultimate conqueror and absolute ruler. And after all, spiritual experience is only the realization that higher levels of conscious existence and intelligence are there. This realization comes when one is able for a moment to get rid of ego and live just in this moment. But there is no method to achieve it!

Zephir said...

What can science do for you?

It could start with serious research of cold fusion, before we will lost huge amount and lives in nuclear war with Iran, China and similar countries.

Plato said...

Matti:And after all, spiritual experience is only the realization that higher levels of conscious existence and intelligence are there. This realization comes when one is able for a moment to get rid of ego and live just in this moment. But there is no method to achieve it!

We had to look for signs "of the character" our work in processing... that we may see such evidence of our own capabilities in order to understand that each of us is quite capable of being in the moment of that intelligence. Jung might have attributed to The Philemon figure....represented superior insight, and communicated through mythic imagery. The images did not appear to come from Jung's own experience, and Jung interpreted them as products of the collective unconscious. Philemon and the Liber Nous

Some wisely recognized the pathway through which intelligence is made manifest so while in character they had a line to recognition of the movie playing as well as the authors of who wrote?

Srinivas Ramanujan (1887-1920)In the past few decades, we have witnessed how Ramanujan's contributions have made such a profound impact on various branches of mathematics. The book, "The man who knew infinity", by Robert Kanigel reached out to the general public the world over by describing the fascinating life story of Ramanujan. And now, in the form of a play, the public is made aware, once again, of this wonderful story. This is a very impressive play and I had the pleasure of seeing it with Prof. George Andrews, the world's greatest authority on Ramanujan's work and on partitions.

There is a difference between one's daemon and the process of loosing perspective....After suffering a nervous breakdown, Pirsig spent time in and out of mental hospitals from 1961 – 1963. After undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression, and was treated with shock therapy. Pirsig had made a progressive recovery and had discontinued psychotherapy in 1964. He later began working as a freelance writer. See: Robert Pirsig

So while one is being crafty in there search for distinctions in religion and adopting the process of some system for communication one has to be very careful about instilling the falsities of how religion can be portrayed against the back drop of something evil while tending to push ourselves to the awareness of what each is gifted with.

By analogy only, one might have rolled their eyes upward, where is ti there sight is sent then to consider that such a heaven is possible within the confines of a vast reservoir of our being?

Best,

Ulla said...

What might Jung's 'window of insight' be expressed in math? What is a 'higher level of consciousness' when it is always getting lower and lower in awaring and intelligence.

As I have said - humans are the least conscious creatures of all, - but most intelligent. The consciousness have been selected well.

The 'higher level' must be the more primitive/childish, or of bigger size.

Ulla said...

http://empslocal.ex.ac.uk/people/staff/mrwatkin/isoc/jungianNT.htm

http://www.urbanomic.com/Publications/Collapse-1/PDFs/C1_Matthew_Watkins.pdf

Arun said...

Dear Bee,

Some explanation of my point of view might help. I believe mind- matter dualism was brought into Western thought by Descartes - maybe Phil can help here - and it is a surprise only to people of that school that there is a physical, neurological substrate to thought and experience, whether it be of something scientific or something religious.

Hindu dualism is of a different nature altogether. The distinction is between the subject and object, or better yet between the experiencer and the experienced. Certainly, the phenomenal world is ion the experienced category. But The Hindu vision puts the sene organs, the mind ( the thing that produces the stream of thoughts in your head), and the intellect ( your reasoning self), the ego - all into the experienced, and thus into "prakriti" or nature, or the phenomenal world. Thus finding material correlates in the brain to thought should come as no surprise to any thinking Hindu.

So, what is the experiencer? Think of Searles'' Chinese room experiment,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room

Where is the experiencer there? Hindu thinkers found an unending regression in trying to find the experiencer. Perhaps it is an infinite recursion like Hofstadler's GOD = GOD over Djinn. Perhaps science will one day resolve this infinite recursion, like imathematics has resolved Zeno's Paradoxes. But so far it hasn't; and in the meantime Hindu thought puts this primordial "awareness" as the root of all things. This is the vision behind Hindu religious thought, and as you can see, nothing that you quote comes near to addressing it.

So not only do these charlatans have no explanation of religion, they don't even know enough about religion, which they purport to explain. Hence I think I am justifiably harsh with them.

Best wishes,
-arun

Arun said...

Typos

sene = sense

Mud said...

"What we modestly try to realize is wisdom rather than science or information. A philosophy, as articulated wisdom, has to be a synthesis of theory and practice. It must not shun concrete policy recomendations but has to base them on fundamental priorities of value and basic views concerning the development of our societies."
(Arne Naess in Tobias 1985)

Plato said...

A DISCOURSE CONCERNING SOCRATES’S DAEMON.

Mach3Horizon said...

I enjoy thinking about the idea of Sunday meetings that share the science of our universe with the simple lives of the public, but I disagree with the decision to start them at 11:00am every Sunday. Holding the gatherings at this time could do one of two things; either force those normally attending church masses at 11:00am to make a choice between two different perspectives of the same universe, or make them wake up earlier in order to quench their religious cravings. The latter is an issue of self- motivation, and the former is a larger concern. I support science and the quest for knowledge and understanding, but I do not trust in human logic over faith in a higher being simply because I value the unknown more than the known. The unknown is why I exist, the known is how (and maybe when), but now why. In my opinion, all three are equally important in accepting my place in this universe, and so I will feed my curiosity in them all. This includes my weekly routine of going to church and studying the scientific perspective of life through academia (among other activities). My church holds its finest service at 11:30, and although I prefer the earlier mass, the majority of church-goers attend the later service. By moving the start of your suggested scientific conventions to 12:30pm or 1:00pm, you will make more opportunity for many people to attend their morning church service and continue their day in science. This is a great way to increase the attendance to your events and add a different color of discussion with the induction of religious scientists. The only reason this change would work for church-attending individuals is because, just as we switch classes in school, us religious folk can alter our perspective on life for a broader understanding. There is scripual history, more or less credible, supporting the beliefs of Cristians, and the same is true in science. The universe from the human perspective can be split into two sanctions: the known and the unknown. While science is based on the known and travels towards the unknown, religion is based on faith in the unknown and travels towards the known. An example of the latter is the recent change in Catholicism's protocol, and examples in science are numerous in the least. Point being: if legitimacy is a conclusion or process conforming to generally accepted principles and standards, the both science and religion are legitimate. Both have been proven wrong by science and denoted in scripture as blasphemous; therefore, each is generally soluble in the other- each substituting part of the whole view on the creation, life cycle, and destruction of all entities in our universe. In acknowledgement of the collaboration and interrelations of science and religion, your sermons on science should interrelate and collaborate with church mass on Sunday. Both should be made accessible with your generous delay in starting time to better the discussions, decrease the unnecessary tension, and increase the attendance of your weekly sermons.

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Bee said...

Hi Phil,

In my case, it started out in the Bob room, and then was moved to the theater when it got too crowded. Yes, you are right, both in length as well as in depth people might differ on what they prefer. I was thinking however that those not familiar with the topic at all might want to start with small pieces, and a seminar that lasts an hour or longer might not sound too compelling. There is a certain gap in what we are offering to the public, and I think tapping on the simple things (what's this image and what does it mean?) might help to bridge it.

Yes, it is generally good to have something written to refer too. The question is how many people will actually read it. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Dear Arun,

You are right both with assuming that I don't know much about Hinduism, and by pointing out that the relevance of these studies for the understanding of religion in general has been overstated (Googling brings up many examples). I have tried (probably not very successfully) to formulate my post carefully to make clear that they are only addressing certain aspects of religious believes, and those are focused on the idea that some omniscient almighty being has their hands in the working of the world, rather than more general religious experiences.

I believe that in an earlier post, I also mentioned that this type of believes isn't a priori religious to begin with. It could also be a believe in magic or superstition.

However, while the relevance of the functioning of the human brain for understanding the origin of religion might have been overstated, I still think that these studies have explanatory power. Best,

B.

Bee said...

Sorry, I linked to the wrong post regarding the question whether this "religious thinking" is actually "religious." I had meant this post instead.

Plato said...

Just to be clear, I am not an animal:)LOL

On the Question of a Daemon


Best,

Arun said...

An entirely different take - on what science *cannot* do for you :) by Anthony Daniels (pen-name Theodore Dalrymple) :

http://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Future-tense--VI--Under-the-scientific-Bo-Tree-7272

iasomiero said...

Hi Bee,

I'm sure you're well aware of the fact that the assumption that I have a psychological need for a (monotheist) God to exist, doesn't say anything about the existence (or non existence) of God.

You build your own model of a monotheist God ( we all do the same BTW) and when you find flaws in it, you conclude "God doesn't exist!". :) You don't want me to do the same with the nature, do you? Whenever a scientific model of nature proves to be incorrect, or incomplete, should I conclude the nature (or the universe) doesn't exist? :)

Bee said...

Hi Iasomerio,

Nature is a word, like God; it's not a scientific hypothesis. You can believe all you want, but when you start making testable claims, powers that your god has to interfere with the known laws of nature, that's when you're running into a problem. And if your god doesn't have any powers, well, what point is there to believe in him? Best,

B.

iasomiero said...

You're right, Bee. God is not a scientific hypothesis, so you can’t make any testable prediction about Him. :) And I’m not saying this in any patronizing way. What if God has the power to interfere with my life, to make it better, without interfering with the laws of nature? Just relax the hypothesis a little. Instead of saying: God makes impossible things happen, just say: God makes highly improbable things happen. Like winning the lottery all the time :)

Yours truly,
C─âlin

Bee said...

Hi Iasomiero,

To state the obvious: if your life is governed by the laws of nature, then it's governed by the laws of nature. There's no way to interfere with the laws of nature without violating them, thus your god is powerless, and at least to me it seems rather pointless to assign him or her a personality in this case. Best,

B.

iasomiero said...

"There's no way to interfere with the laws of nature without violating them" Is this a testable prediction, Bee? :)

You might wonder "What is your problem, Iasomiero?" :) I meet people who don't know too much about science and how it works, but who think science gives them strong reasons (stronger than let's say 2000 years ago) to believe God doesn't exist. I found about your blog reading another blog about physics, and one of the comments there, one reader talking about another reader, was "I thought he was safely out of the way at Sabine’s blog (she seems to tolerate him – he’s been banned nearly everywhere else), but he seems to have escaped…" I have a deep respect for tolerant people - maybe not a strong point of (some) monotheist religions in history - so I was wondering "Who's Sabine?" I'm still not sure if you are the right Sabine, but I love your blog :) And since you've opened Pandora's box with this post, I thought I could ask questions to see what is the point of view of a person who knows what science is, about science and God.

Cheers,
Calin

Bee said...

Hi Iasomerio,

It's not a prediction, it's what it means to be a law of nature. I was just clarifying this because it seemed to me it wasn't clear to you.

That doesn't say though that god doesn't exist, to begin with because "god" and "to exist" are terms that I don't know what they mean. It means however that any god's powers are very limited to the point that at least I can't see what it matters if he or she "exists" in any interpretation of the word.

I am probably not the right Sabine. More likely, I'm the left one. Though I'm not sure I exist either. Best,

B.