c_programmer wrote:If we could at some point gain a strong enough understanding of our brain we could in fact generate these emotions by altering the chemicals in the brain. This is what depression medications do, just the other way around (and at a much simpler level).
One sense can not be described using another, this is nothing new. Depending on how their deafness works you could in theory inject electrical sequences to make a deaf person hear something. This has been done on a very basic level with sight.
Yes, creating new experiences--either through brute chemical manipulation or use of certain types of stimulation--leads to (surprise!) new experiences. My point was that you can't merely use language to describe experience if we don't have the experience in the first place; experience is a necessary component to communicate ideas. People don't 'get' these things until they've experienced something relatable for themselves.
c_programmer wrote:Back when I was forced to practice music 1hr a day I could read music and know its sound. This was, of course, me referencing what I knew the notes to sound like.
During this period, would you have rather sat down and read sheet music than listen to it on the radio? Is there a fundamental difference there?
c_programmer wrote:How does something exist in the middle between reality? A series of electrical and chemical reactions, no matter how complex, is completely real.
If you're driving on the highway and you see a truck coming towards you in your lane you are going to move. While perhaps the photons are only hitting your eye 100% of the time you will take that as a very certain proof of a mass actually being there.
This is the problem with trying to discuss this; when I say things like 'we exist between reality and abstractions', I don't mean human thought exists in a magical place outside reality; I mean that we abstract reality itself--again, we have no concept of what an atom actually
looks like, only the iconography that our brains have fed us. We have no idea of the actual reality of that oncoming truck--only the iconography that our eyes tell us.
This is also what I mean when I describe scientists as story-tellers; because that's really the only thing we (humans) understand--stories. Icons that reference experiences we've already had. This is a limitation we have. We cannot get past it. It's a limitation that's so integral to who we are that, nine times out of ten, we don't even recognize it's there
. We confuse our icons for reality as it actually is. We're stuck in the GUI, and we can never see the code
. Science just makes guesses about the code based on how things work.
c_programmer wrote:I think we have reached the crux of the disagreement on this tangent, I understand where you are coming from but I disagree with you. I find scientific thought to be superior, period. We're probably going to have to agree to disagree.
How is this any different from "I find the Bible to be superior, period. We're probably going to have to agree to disagree"?
curtis95112 wrote:Scientific thought is inherently superior in the way truth is inherently superior to falsehood.
What does 'inherently superior' even mean, anyway? Without some sort of qualifier, it's a meaningless phrase. Inherently superior at what? Being untrue? Is truth inherently superior at being untrue than falsehoods?
Scientific thought is superior at predictions about the future. That's of incredible importance. But that isn't 'inherently superior to everything, period'. That's just sloppy, magical thinking. Hell, I'd go so far as to say that assuming scientific thought is inherently superior is an example of non-rigorous, unscientific thought!
You value critical thinking, right? Approach your own values concerning science critically, then. Why is it so self-evident that science is "superior"?
curtis95112 wrote:The crux of your argument seems to be that people don't always want to be right, and that's why people put faith in religious texts. I can't agree with this, if only because I've seen religious fundamentalists claim that the science supports their facts when preaching to the choir. They put great value in being empirically correct, and they sincerely believe that they are. Even the non-fundamentalist casual church-goers care a great deal about having empirically correct beliefs. That's why we have so much of the "Oh, Genesis is just a metaphor" type arguments. People like to have beliefs that agree with how the world actually is, and for good reason.
If you were right, we should have believers saying "Oh there's no such thing as original sin, and I'm not sure if Jesus even actually existed, but I sincerely believe there is and that he did.", much in the way you said a few pages back that you can simultaneously believe that the Earth was created in seven days and that it was created over a million years. But we don't really have many people claiming that. Some do, of course, but such drastic compartmentalization is hardly the main method of belief.
I used the 7-days versus million years example to illustrate how someone who thinks about this a lot can reconcile the two concepts; however, I don't think most people think about this a lot.
The thing you have to keep in mind for most Western believers--most of the time, they're not thinking scientifically. But they live in a culture that's benefited enormously from science; science is such an integral trait of our lives that to be detached from it comes off as ignorant and wrong. So assume I'm a non-scientist, with unscientific beliefs, unscientific values--but I want those beliefs and values to remain relevant and credible. What am I going to do?
I'm going to try to convince the world that my beliefs are scientifically credible. I'm going to argue and preach--using my unscientific values--of the scientific validity of God, the Bible, of Creationism, etc. I'm going to take these values and insert them into a sphere where they don't belong, and I'm going to get pissed as hell when people approach those values with the type of rigor we expect from actual
science. Because even though I'm a non-scientist, I've been raised to believe that science is a route to credibility; and since I consider myself credible, I must be a scientist1
I'm not trying to convince you that your values are wrong or inferior. I'm only trying to get you to stop extoling the virtues of your values for a minute--long enough to step back and understand the geography of this ongoing conflict. When someone says something like "Man, why do religious people believe in scripture, there's no scientific proof for them!", we are experiencing a miscommunication so fucking fundamental that we might as well be speaking different languages
You cannot use scientific values to argue against people who aren't interested in scientific values. They believe because they want to believe
. It satisfies a need of theirs. If they argue for the science behind scripture, they're either really bad scientists or just hungry for the cultural credibility science provides--because an aspect of Western culture is that unscientific beliefs are bad.
Look, if you really want to make us question our beliefs, you need to understand why we believe the things we believe. As long as you assume your values are superior and ours are inferior, you're not even speaking the language
. You need to step back and try to understand why we value these things. And no, 'because you're ignorant' isn't a reasonable answer.1So much energy in Christian fundamentalism--in Young Earth studies--is tied up in aping the appearance of science while ignoring the values of science. Universities that teach Creationism, museums that show men and dinosaurs walking side-by-side, pastors who think the Piltdown Man is the silver bullet for the fossil record--these are people desperate to validate their values with the cultural credibility of science. Arguing the science with them isn't going to change anything, because they don't value science to begin with. If we're actually going to change people's behaviors, it is critical that we understand their values. And if we're going to understand their values, we need to understand and respect the reasons they have them.