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Author Topic: To the Best of Our Knowledge: Can Science be Sacred?  (Read 5540 times)
WarHorse
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« Topic Start: December 19, 2010, 07:55:18 pm »

I was able to listen to the whole program this morning and loved it. Smiley

http://www.wpr.org/book/101219a.cfm

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What if you don't believe in God, and the thought of church makes you queasy? Can you still experience the sacred? There's a growing movement of secular scientists who revel in the awe and wonder of nature. In fact, many consider this a religious experience – without God. We'll talk about the search for a science-based spirituality, and hear from a leading animist philosopher, in this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge.

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« Reply #1: December 20, 2010, 08:18:47 am »

I was able to listen to the whole program this morning and loved it. Smiley

http://www.wpr.org/book/101219a.cfm


While I don't have time to listen to the program, considering science sacred troubles me a bit as science is a process, not a result. I'm afraid if people started considering science sacred it would be the current results science has produced that most see as sacred not the process. This could be damaging to science itself as many people would not want to see the results they currently hold sacred "damaged/invalidated" by later research if that research showed the original results were not quite right. Worse, if people see science as sacred, many are likely see scientists as "near-infallible priests" and tend to believe anything a scientist says because he is a scientist.
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« Reply #2: December 20, 2010, 08:40:12 am »

Worse, if people see science as sacred, many are likely see scientists as "near-infallible priests" and tend to believe anything a scientist says because he is a scientist.

I thought that was the case.
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« Reply #3: December 20, 2010, 02:24:58 pm »

While I don't have time to listen to the program, considering science sacred troubles me a bit as science is a process, not a result. I'm afraid if people started considering science sacred it would be the current results science has produced that most see as sacred not the process. This could be damaging to science itself as many people would not want to see the results they currently hold sacred "damaged/invalidated" by later research if that research showed the original results were not quite right. Worse, if people see science as sacred, many are likely see scientists as "near-infallible priests" and tend to believe anything a scientist says because he is a scientist.
This, unfortunately, already happens, so I'm with you here.  My 'puter's sound issues mean I can't listen either, so it may be that all we're doing is quibbling with the title they gave the program, but I think it's necessary quibbling.

I probably feel all the more strongly about that, because I'm so on board with what I suspect they're actually referring to:  the idea that a science-based worldview can be a vehicle for perceiving sacredness.

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« Reply #4: December 20, 2010, 02:28:08 pm »

the idea that a science-based worldview can be a vehicle for perceiving sacredness.

I too am completely on board with the above. It's how I came to realize I'm a pagan, and it informs the most important aspects of my spirituality.
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« Reply #5: December 20, 2010, 05:14:12 pm »

I probably feel all the more strongly about that, because I'm so on board with what I suspect they're actually referring to:  the idea that a science-based worldview can be a vehicle for perceiving sacredness.

That I have no problem with. To me, it hard not to look at things like the Big Bang with a type of "sacred awe".
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« Reply #6: December 20, 2010, 06:38:59 pm »


I don't see science as sacred, but there are values that are expected to be an implicit part of the process (e.g. truth).

With that said, when I have data in front of me, and it's going well, I can feel very elated.  That has sometimes felt 'spiritual' to me.

(that said, it's been a while since research has gone that well for me).
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« Reply #7: December 20, 2010, 07:07:56 pm »

That I have no problem with. To me, it hard not to look at things like the Big Bang with a type of "sacred awe".

That's exactly what the program is about.

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« Reply #8: February 27, 2011, 07:26:37 pm »

While I don't have time to listen to the program, considering science sacred troubles me a bit as science is a process, not a result. I'm afraid if people started considering science sacred it would be the current results science has produced that most see as sacred not the process. This could be damaging to science itself as many people would not want to see the results they currently hold sacred "damaged/invalidated" by later research if that research showed the original results were not quite right. Worse, if people see science as sacred, many are likely see scientists as "near-infallible priests" and tend to believe anything a scientist says because he is a scientist.

So a process or a search can't be sacred?  Only it's (temporary) results?
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« Reply #9: February 28, 2011, 08:24:41 am »

So a process or a search can't be sacred?  Only it's (temporary) results?

I would say a search can be sacred, but most people I'm meant who consider science sacred are talking about treating the (current) results of that search as sacred.
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« Reply #10: February 28, 2011, 08:36:05 am »

<snippage>

I probably feel all the more strongly about that, because I'm so on board with what I suspect they're actually referring to:  the idea that a science-based worldview can be a vehicle for perceiving sacredness.

Sunflower

If you've read any of HHDL's writings on the matter, like The Universe in a Single Atom, it's pretty clear that at least for Tibetan Buddhists science and sacredness are not necessarily exclusive--nor should they be. Matthieu Ricard is another example of one who thinks along those lines; he holds a doctorate in molecular biology, and left the field to take vows as a Tibetan Buddhist monk.

Just one more reason, I think, that I'm so drawn to and aligned with that particular spirituality/philosophy.
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« Reply #11: February 28, 2011, 08:48:12 am »

While I don't have time to listen to the program, considering science sacred troubles me a bit as science is a process, not a result. I'm afraid if people started considering science sacred it would be the current results science has produced that most see as sacred not the process. This could be damaging to science itself as many people would not want to see the results they currently hold sacred "damaged/invalidated" by later research if that research showed the original results were not quite right. Worse, if people see science as sacred, many are likely see scientists as "near-infallible priests" and tend to believe anything a scientist says because he is a scientist.

Likewise, and i agree... Science though it's about absolutes is not absolute, it's not a result it's a process. And calling a process sacred doesn't work for me. However i may think science is important to our world "Especially medical science". I would never declare it sacred. Sacred to me are things like, being able to spend time with those i love, and love in general.

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« Reply #12: February 28, 2011, 10:18:00 pm »

I would say a search can be sacred, but most people I'm meant who consider science sacred are talking about treating the (current) results of that search as sacred.

Then I'm mostly in agreement with you.

On the other hand, if the ancients (or you or I) could get sacred meaning from observing the first fall of snow, or the first vulnerable snowdrops of spring,  then what's to say we can't derive something holy from watching wiggling bacteria through a microscope, or (for those who actually understand those things) working through stellar physics equations?

What we DO have to be prepared for is:
If you invest (see) sacredness in any part of the world, or its observation, or its knowledge, you need to be able tho deal with change...  When the knowledge about that part of the world changes.  Ont he other hand, we've done that before.  So many people celebrate the winter solstice - and I've seen amazing things come out of it, but most people aren't doing it because if they don't the sun LITERALLY won't come back.
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« Reply #13: March 01, 2011, 06:01:39 am »


I haven't answered this before because it's hard to get past the Kermit-arm-flailing.  BUT!

The PROCESS of science - the act of learning more about the universe in which we live - is inherently sacred in FlameKeeping.  We are the Universe trying to explore and understand itself - of COURSE science is the process of doing that!

The results, though?  They're facts - useful when they work, not so much when they stop working.  Newton's laws work until they hit Einsteinian relativity issues.  Neither is sacred - what matters is whether or not it WORKS.
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« Reply #14: March 01, 2011, 04:24:38 pm »

I haven't answered this before because it's hard to get past the Kermit-arm-flailing.  BUT!

The PROCESS of science - the act of learning more about the universe in which we live - is inherently sacred in FlameKeeping.  We are the Universe trying to explore and understand itself - of COURSE science is the process of doing that!

The results, though?  They're facts - useful when they work, not so much when they stop working.  Newton's laws work until they hit Einsteinian relativity issues.  Neither is sacred - what matters is whether or not it WORKS.

Yes,  what works comes first. 

I guess maybe I'm misunderstanding sacred.  So it depends if "sacred" can change or not, if it can't then it has no place in scientific results - but a definite place in the process.
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