If you're not feeling insecure, you're probably not looking is my take on the matter. I tend to be very worried by people who profess to have answers for me or for anybody else. So, yes, from where I sit, you probably should be insecure. Not specifically you, mind you, simply anybody who's paying attention. Last I looked, everybody dies, you know, and mostly nobody says when.
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, nobody wants to die.
I owe that to a Steven Segal movie, much cherished.
Sadly, I find I'm unable to be smarter than I am, and the depths of my foolishness constantly amaze me by revealing new depths. Would that I could provide them with some sort of floor. The more I talk, the more stupid I get. You'd think I'd have learned to shut up by now. But no.
I think that we must be reading different folks if you feel that science is making bold proclamations. The scientific literature hardly has it within itself to suggest "further research should be conducted" about topics on which they reached some fairly interesting conclusions. The press will often make exaggerated claims for the meaning of research results. Scientists often joke about this. Such claims are less frequently made by scientists themselves. Check out an issue or two of Science or Nature, two of the big science journals and you'll see what I mean.
Beyond that, "Philosophical Statements" are by their very nature different than "scientific statements." "Scientific statements" or statements of scientific theory should be testable, or should be in some condition where they are being worked into condition for being tested by collection of data that will confirm or deny the hypothesis being tested. Ideally, scientific statements should be concrete as a brick, or their tests should be.
Philosophical statements may contain elements which are untestable by their very nature. Science is generally a version of one sort of philosophy — materialism — and it generally abides by the rules of that particular philosophical viewpoint. Philosophical Statements in general may be about any form of philosophy, some of which are antithetical to the materialistic (not in the sense of money, but in the sense of concentration on concrete things) viewpoint.
It is less likely that science will make an unverifiable assertion about a subject of study, I believe, than most other philosophies, simply because it is a point of view that specializes in the study of concrete things and how they behave. It has developed techniques for making things that would seem abstract — the energies in atoms, for example — into more material objects of measurement and study. I find it, at time, almost annoying, the amount of ingenuity science has shown. I also admire it.
Once the subject has changed from the concrete objects of the world, I believe, and looks at things that actually are abstract and philosophical, I believe that science is not such a useful instrument. I believe that it is essentially, on those subjects, no different that any other system of beliefs, and its prejudices are on display as unattractively as the prejudices of any other philosophy (or religious system, for that matter) can show themselves under conditions when the tenets of the philosophy itself are stressed.
Scientific theories about origins seem to have as much validity as any other story about origins as far as I'm concerned. All of them show the persistence of man's need to tell the story of his origins. It's an archetype that man seems to construct for himself in every culture. Science, being as active a religious culture (I think) as any other on the planet, certainly has a right to its own creation story. Because it is a materialistic philosophy, it must insist that the story be literally true. In this it has a lot in common with lots of fundamentalist faiths throughout the world, from Osama Bin Laden to Oral Roberts to the some of the most conservative Popes, all share the conviction of literal correctness. Many of them share the evangelical zeal of the more annoying atheists in the scientific community, who simply won't let you alone and will give you no peace until you acknowledge the rightness of their revelation.
All of them give me a migraine from time to time. Heaven knows how badly I frustrate them.
Again, it's just my worldview, but that stuff sure looks no different than any other profession of faith to me.
I don't know how completely we agree, but I find this statement congenial. The problem is that the various faiths suffer from a confusion of tongues, and there is difficulty with finding people with the good will to listen to each other.
Religion used to be integral to science, and I think the reason it isn't now is because of competing faith claims. Unlike the new congregants of scientism, I don't believe that science has an answer for everything.
In science and in Christianity and Judaism, there is a sort of millennial passion. All of them must come to grips with the fact that everything isn't perfect now. You distort the position of science if you say that science says it has an answer for everything. What they say is we don't have that answer YET. The implication is that sometime in the future the answer will come if we simply retain our faith in the Scientific Method. In the fullness of time, that answer WILL COME. The Jews say, "Next year in Jerusalem!" or "Comes the Messiah!" The Christians say, "Your reward will come in Heaven" or When the messiah Returns." You need to keep faith with your insight, I think, about science being one religion among many, and notice that the other religions do the same thing as science does in this case as well.
Very interesting Conversation, N.G. Unusual last name. Any relationship with the good Doctor?
Sincerely, Bob Kaven