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Does religon and society hold back our scientific advancement?

Discussion in 'Speaker's Corner' started by Docaroo, 3 Aug 2007.

  1. cosmogenesis

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    Darwins Evolution does state that we all have a common ancestor. DNA states the same thing really. The fossil and geological records also bear this out.
     
  2. ethan

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    That is an interesting point and an honest one but it is a pity however that the evolutionists-if that is what I may call them-and the likes of Dawkins, of which you might as well class as materialists don't ascribe to it. They have already decided the answer for us- off course, it is the brain. Our emotions are as a consequence of the brain: our personalities-our hunches, our intuitions and individual prefferences including the reasons as to why we might love someone are simply the consequence of the brain behaving in a particular way without any thought or appreciation for an indidvidual's free will and the ability to make free choices: not to mention our Art and Culture including our appreciation of beauty and so on. Why am I not convinced by this?
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2007
  3. Nitefly

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    Hmm, not sure about that. For a start I am an evolutionist, if you would like to call it as such :)

    As for emotions etc, we know about some corresponding physical interactions that happen within the brain but no more. It largely remains a mystery. I'm not quite sure what you are trying to say to be honest.
     
  4. ethan

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    I was simply trying to illustrate how many of the "things" which we like to think makes us "human" don't necessarily or even adequitely fit the materialist view: that the only thing that can truly be said to exist is matter; that fundamentally, all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In many respects or even all, most of the views described in this thread are allied to this position and as a consequence do not allow for the existence of paranaormal or supernormal, religious states, or any kind of personal experience independent of these interactions, since they would challenge and invalidate many of the theories on which the materialist doctrine is based. The mental has to be eplained away as physical for example, otherwise the theory is invalid. Never does the theory explain the way an Anorexic person aquires a fear of gaining weight and no matter how many times the body complains of being hungry, that fear will counteract the desire to eat. If it were just one part of the brain simply acting on or with another part of the brain, then as an explanation that would be fine-but in this example we a referring to a fear that could have arisen as a consequence of a young girl reading a celebrity magazine and not simply one part of the brain conflicting with another. The aspects of this girl's personality cannot simply be reduced to a chemical reaction since the belief, or in this example I would like to refer to as the concept of fashon, is acting on the mind/personality of the girl prior to acting on the body. If someone were to give there life away to save another it makes no sense to say "Oh it's just one part of the brain counteracting another i.e, the survival mechanism) since there could be any number of reasons involved. As far as the paranormal is concernedI am not saying we should accept any kind of a quack claim either , but in my opinion it is this kind of overly stringent materialist thinking that holds Science back -getting to the Op's first post.
     
    Last edited: 6 Aug 2007
  5. Vonhelmet

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    Idiots? Nice. Spoken like a truly narrow-minded scientific dumbass.

    Mods - if you take me down, you're pretty much duty bound to take him down too.
     
  6. anarchist

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    The mental, i.e. the brain, IS physical. So yes, it does explain how reading a celebrity magazine can help make somebody anoxeric. It's just physical inputs having an effect on a physical system.
     
  7. ethan

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    Come on! you don't seriously believe that do you? That the concept of fashon and looking good is purely a physiological input.?
    The brain is physical but the mental.......? Is compassion a purely physiological response? Are the qualitative aspects of our mental states physiological such as the desire to be thin or good? Are the relationships between men and women purely physiological? According to your definition they would have to be. Why is it we cannot record the qualative aspects of our mental states and how is it they remain peculiar and personal only to a particular individual? Why is there are only a few recordable brainwaves and presumably millions upon millions of differing qualative brain experiences ? Where is your evidence? Surely you are not trying to argue that those few brain waves we can record can easily be shown to represent the full gamut of human thought and experience to which I refer?
     
    Last edited: 7 Aug 2007
  8. Van_Dammesque

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    He is and he is correct.
     
  9. Dolph

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    Not unless you can provide evidence to demonstrate it, and that's not simply demonstrating that if you look for a naturalistic process, you'll find one. Measuring observed changes, being able to predict observed changes, is not the same thing as understanding the underlying reasons for those changes.

    Your statement is no difference from someone saying "There is a soul", it's meaningless to anyone else. It is purely based on your own faith and nothing else.

    To an outside observer, the changes being caused naturally solely by physical chemical interaction or by something different would be indistinguishable.

    Religious arrogance is not becoming whether used by an atheist or a theist.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2007
  10. cosmogenesis

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    Recently on another thread Dolph you said that science was of repeatable experiments of a continuous natureand that it was possible that a lot of things do not work like that. Now though you are asking people to prove or demonstrate evidence (scientifically I guess) to the contrary. Are you not just playing devils advocate due to you being a religious scientist and hence confused and biased in all ways being both pro and anti science at the same time ?

    You arguments for and against science seem contradictory and a little weird. Maybe you are just blaming people for taking a stance on science and not taking a pro science stance ?

    How does the world work in your mind Dolph ?
     
  11. Van_Dammesque

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    The evidence is for all to see in neuro-scientific journals, I thought it was well known that the brain works via electro-chemical process (as well as nerves interacting with the brain), brain waves are in fact electro-waves. MRI scans shows areas "lighting-up" when people do certain things (thinking), etc... If you are proposing a different method of how the brain works and then please provide your evidence, what forces that are unknown to science are present in the brain (uniquely to humans I'll add)?! :confused:

    Of course but which is the correct assumption for the underlying causes? Electro-chemical manifestations into a personality (slowly being understood by science), or some unknown fundamental force present in the human brain that no-one has ever seen before (backed by the religious (or dualist athiests) with no evidence whatsoever)?

    Why is it arrogant when someone points out facts to contradict mystical (and blatantly false) premises? Does the brain not use electro-chemical reactions? What about a plethora of drugs that actually "tap" into the said electro-chemical processes (anit-depressives being one).

    I premusme then Dolph you believe humans have souls? How do you wrestle with this notion when confronted with science interpretation of the functions of the brain?
     
  12. ethan

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    Nobody denies that the brain uses elctro-chemical reactions but as an explanation for providing a comprehensive and satisfactory interpretation for the description of the qualia that make up the compasition of a mental state it is absurd. That is why it is arrogant.
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2007
  13. Van_Dammesque

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    What else is there though? (Except for unfounded speculations based on arguments that defy reality.)

    Drugs can alter moods etc...As far as the rest of you post anarchist replied to; what you are talking about (i.e. fashions, etc..) are what evolutionists call memes (analogous to the gene and undergo cultural selection criteria.). The mental, as you call it, is an amalgamation of genes and memes. (Of course I'll be lambasted since it was Dawkins who thought of memes :p )

    And of course compassion is an evolutionary product (just look at elephants in their groups or chimps in a troop and their behaviour).

    Anorexia for example could be mental pressures applied from within, to look good, but that view gets distorted, but in evolutionary terms it could be a genetic defect in the brain or it could be a meme that has distorted his/her view (and biologically speaking it would be the driving force of reproduction, i.e. looking good for a mate.).
     
  14. Van_Dammesque

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    Didn't you do a thread about evolution? Do you have the link?

    What are your thoughts on memes?
     
  15. Edward78

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    One good example in the US anyway, is Stem cell researce. Everyone freaks out when they said they can get them from aborted fetuses, no it is "unethicel" & BS like that. I don't agree with abortain, but if they can get something of use out of abortions, they should.
     
  16. Monkey Puzzle

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    Isn't pretty much everything we do or believe based on statistical induction?


    I would say that I hope Bush gets Alzheimer's like Reagan did, in the hope that it would change his mind over the issue, but from hearing Dubya talk I suspect he already has something not-quite-right going on upstairs.

    From what I've heard of the memes idea it just seems like a pile of waffle made up by a biologist getting out of his depth in another field, like he did with The God Delusion....
     
  17. ethan

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    Merely renaming an idea as a meme is a nice metaphor-but it is still a metaphor that is taken too far. Memes like thoughts are hard to define and quantify and measure and their very existence is somewhat nebulous, inferable, but not scientifically verifiable which was the point. As far as anorexia is concened it appears to be manifested from the outside as “Anorexia nervosa patients typically come from white, middle to upper-middle class families that place heavy emphasis on high achievement, perfection, eating patterns and physical appearance." According to this category there doesn't appear to be a "biological" basis for it but a cultural one and its solution involves a situation in which Treatment of anorexia requires that the patient must want to change and must have family and friends to help them. It also becomes very difficult to see how any kind of a mood altering drug would be of benefit to an anorexic if that person does not see anything up with themselve's: which is a symptom of the disease itself. Rather ironically you would need to prescribe a drug that would make the person see that there was something up with them? Lol
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2007
  18. THMRK

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    Thats what neuro-scientists are trying to answer. I think it's a tad arrogant to dismiss all other spectulation on it. There are many things that could cause it that aren't "mystical" or "defy reality".

    You seem to automatically assume that if the mind works somewhat independantly from the body, or if there is a "soul" (which will never, ever be proven anyway) that it's some how not connected to the brain. That clearly isn't, and wouldn't be the case. It can be likened to a TV set. If I remove bits from my TV, i might lose the picture, or the sound, or alter them in some way. That doesn't mean that TV itself ceases to be. It just means I cant see or hear or recieve the signal. I'm not saying the brain is that way. But its one of a myraid of possiblities. Others being that maybe the brain is in actual fact, a quantum computer? Maybe conciousness exists in the electrical signals that jump between parts of the brain? Maybe the brain is a massively controlled and intricate feed-back system? I some how doubt that the brain is entirely deterministic. That idea can't explain everything, as I'm sure ethan will point out (as he seems much more versed in philosophy than I am).

    Interesting that you bring in memes. I see you are a Dawkins fan. The idea of memes may seem to be a scientific one, but in actual fact it, much like God, or a soul, or even a thought, is unverifiable by science. It's somewhat ironic that the man who's a materialist believes in a concept that has no proof, when he has made a career out of "lack of proof" arguments. The man should go back to evolutionary biology.

    I'm just gonna say that even though we dunno how their brains works either, even if we could we would never know what it feels like to be an elephant. If I can go a bit New Age, or even a bit Buddhist here, what's to say these things have no mind or "soul" either?
     
  19. Van_Dammesque

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    An experiment of dogs: Wild Vs Domesticated, shows that certain "barks" are reproduced in the wild and not in domesticated isolation, therefore these barks are "leanrt" fro mthe adults and are not instinctive, hence a strong indication of memes.

    Quite suited to the idea of cultural memes wouldn't you say?!

    Again reinforcing my speculation that it is a meme rather than a gene that is responsible.
     
  20. Van_Dammesque

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    Granted, let me explain:
    I make a clear distinguished separation from scientific speculation (based on observables and laws that are well known) to that or mystical/religious speculation (based on nothing or plucked from thin air).

    If someone proposes the idea of a soul then they should describe exactly what "it" is before shooting down people who subscribe to the scientific ideas.
    I am thinking that you may misunderstand me, I am saying I am a monist atheist: the mind, brain, personality are all the same, i.e the brain. I am not saying the "soul" and body are separate entities, they are made (essentially) of the same stuff.
    You have lost me here but bear with me and I see where you are going....-->

    Here I feel you hit the nail on the head in my approach:
    Why do you say Quantum computer?
    Well, early experiments show that dogs (bear with me :p ) may use a quantum mechanical effect of tunneling to account for their good sense of smell.
    Since the brain uses molecules and electro-impulses it is not far-fetched (and here is the crux - theories based on known reality) that QM may have a part to play in the brain.

    As I have said QM may play a part (faith or speculation on my part here) but what distinguishes me from the others is that my "faith" of QM being a part is extrapolations based on knowledge, not speculations based on NOTHING, i.e. my proponents would say a soul is a transcendental/metaphysical phenomena based on ideas that are based on nothing, ad infinitum. The idea of a "soul" is neither here nor there, it is scientifically unfounded (in contrast to what we already know), it is in reality unfounded, it is not even defined. For example I could claim the "soul" is indeed QM phenomena in the brain, would I be correct or have I suited my definition of a soul to suit the facts? What IS a soul? I believe we have suffcient answers for the "classical" defintion of the soul.

    First see my "dog experiment above".
    Secondly the difference here is that Dawkins (and scientists) would be the first to hold their hands and say I was wrong, if proved otherwise (don't forget the initial assumptions are based on reality unlike religious arguments), secondly Dawkins' beliefs are not dogmatic, I'll repeat, if found wrong with sufficient evidence, whether it be memes or evolution then the new idea would be accepted.

    The soul is a religious concept (particularly a Christian one), whatever a "soul" is I wouldn't presume (true) arrogance to say we humans are the only ones privileged with it.


    EDIT: If (if? I hear you cry!) I seem disjointed it is because I been out for a drink, now for my fish and chips. :cool:
     
    Last edited: 8 Aug 2007