Wednesday, September 24

Science Is Not Your Enemy


This is a fascinating article on how science is perceived by many specially the religious sort. 

I do think that the author protests too much as broadly in developed countries and many other countries who aren't, science has won. If you want proof, compare the various human development indices and whether their constitutions have something religious in them. If they do like Nepal did, Poland and Saudi Arabia do, you know immediately that that is a place to be laughed at. Or pitied. Anybody who believes without evidence should be mocked hard and frequently because their beliefs can also be dismissed without evidence. 

Anyhow. Interesting reading also from an English logographic perspective son. Many words are technical. Pretty heavy duty writing. Test your understanding of the words. Also check your power of concentration. When faced with heavy writing, the tendency is to skip. But that's the key to mental discipline son. Force yourself to read and comprehend. It trains your mind to overcome higher and higher barriers. And then think, have I understood this good enough to make Diya understand? 



Science Is Not Your Enemy


Science Is Not Your Enemy An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians


The great thinkers of the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment were scientists. Not only did many of them contribute to mathematics, physics, and physiology, but all of them were avid theorists in the sciences of human nature. They were cognitive neuroscientists, who tried to explain thought and emotion in terms of physical mechanisms of the nervous system. They were evolutionary psychologists, who speculated on life in a state of nature and on animal instincts that are “infused into our bosoms.” And they were social psychologists, who wrote of the moral sentiments that draw us together, the selfish passions that inflame us, and the foibles of shortsightedness that frustrate our best-laid plans.

These thinkers—Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Leibniz, Kant, Smith—are all the more remarkable for having crafted their ideas in the absence of formal theory and empirical data. The mathematical theories of information, computation, and games had yet to be invented. The words “neuron,” “hormone,” and “gene” meant nothing to them. When reading these thinkers, I often long to travel back in time and offer them some bit of twenty-first-century freshman science that would fill a gap in their arguments or guide them around a stumbling block. What would these Fausts have given for such knowledge? What could they have done with it?

WATCH: Leon Wieseltier’s rejoinder: Science doesn’t have all the answers

We don’t have to fantasize about this scenario, because we are living it. We have the works of the great thinkers and their heirs, and we have scientific knowledge they could not have dreamed of. This is an extraordinary time for the understanding of the human condition. Intellectual problems from antiquity are being illuminated by insights from the sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution. Powerful tools have been developed to explore them, from genetically engineered neurons that can be controlled with pinpoints of light to the mining of “big data” as a means of understanding how ideas propagate.

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