Mailvox: don’t destroy the village

Hari misses the larger context:

Far more irritating, however, is the passage by RAW. The context in which you used it makes it look to the unobservant like a quote from New Scientist or somesuch, when RAW is really an occultist novelist with strong opinions. From one so intelligent, I expect more from you.

Given that yesterday’s post was made in the context of an entire column largely dealing with some of the ideas put forth by that particular occultist novelist, I find your criticism to be spurious. I could not care less how things might look to the unobservant; I expect commenters here to be capable of ad

Renee, ever the rationalist, is suspicious:

I notice #4 isn’t cited.

Sorry, it’s from the same New Scientist article. One thing that is likely not clear to those who have not read it is the obvious chagrin that permeates the entire piece, it is clearly written by a rationalist who is somewhat appalled to discover where the applied reason of the scientific method is leading him.

She adds:

“Even if more evolved people have spiritual beliefs for evolutionary survival it doesn’t mean what they believe in is true.”

Absolutely! However, the post was in response to TP’s false claim, (apparently based on his second-circuit engaging in defense of his theoretical loyalty to the third-circuit), of atheism’s manifold benefits. At no point did I argue that such things were proof of the verity of my religious faith, or, for that matter, of anyone else’s.

Still, it seems to me that the rational action, in light of such evidence, is to seek to embrace spiritual truth in addition to reason based on material proof. And there is justification for doing so beyond the material benefits, as surely the coincidence of the consistent superiority of an ancient text over 2,000 years of accumulated human wisdom, decades of education and doctoral degrees must inspire a spirit of inquiry in even the most robotically rational mind.

I would encourage everyone to jettison their dogma, be it of Science, Church or State, when approaching ideas both old and new, and attempt to consider them with a genuinely curious and open mind. It is written that Creation is stranger than we can know, so there is no reason to intentionally limit our understanding of the universe(s) to a scientific model that we already know beyond any shadow of a doubt to be both errant and incomplete.

It is obvious that the scientific mind is fundamentally crippled when Carl Sagan blithely insists, with absolutely no evidence, that 122,500 people were mass hallucinating on five separate occasions in 1917 during the Fatima incidents. Again and again, we see how quickly the self-proclaimed rationalist resorts to an ontological argument – I can imagine it, therefore it is – in defense of what is otherwise logically unsustainable. Reason is attacked in her own defense… Sagan must destroy the village in order to save it.

None of this should be taken to imply that the scientific method is not useful, (in fact, quite the opposite is true), only that it has strict limits that those who revere it are far too inclined to ignore.