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Is Spreading Science Justified By Reason?

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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23 May 2013 00:18
 
GAD - 22 May 2013 09:52 PM
LadyJane - 22 May 2013 08:04 PM

Hiroshima and Nagasaki DID have that day.  Welcome Hippy.

The American Civil War had an estimated 1,000,000 casualties far more the Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined all with no nukes at all. Is that “sciences” fault? What about the Mongol conquests (1206-1324) 30,000,000–60,000,000, no “science” at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_by_death_toll

What about plague’s and disease that science fights against

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic

Hippy said “don’t say it’s never going to happen.”  I was pointing out it has already happened.  I don’t blame Oppenheimer.  I blame Truman.

 
 
bardoXV
 
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bardoXV
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23 May 2013 01:06
 
LadyJane - 22 May 2013 10:18 PM
GAD - 22 May 2013 09:52 PM
LadyJane - 22 May 2013 08:04 PM

Hiroshima and Nagasaki DID have that day.  Welcome Hippy.

The American Civil War had an estimated 1,000,000 casualties far more the Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined all with no nukes at all. Is that “sciences” fault? What about the Mongol conquests (1206-1324) 30,000,000–60,000,000, no “science” at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_by_death_toll

What about plague’s and disease that science fights against

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic

Hippy said “don’t say it’s never going to happen.”  I was pointing out it has already happened. I don’t blame Oppenheimer.  I blame Truman.

Put the blame where it belongs, with the Japanese, anyone who would cheer the military atrocities of Japan both before 1941 and after should be exterminated like vermin.

 
 
Hippyhead
 
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Hippyhead
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23 May 2013 07:31
 

Nope.  That’s a straw-man built out of a slippery slope fallacy.

Science has given us a pistol.  Fact.

We’ve pointed it at our own heads.  Fact.

We’ve largely forgotten the pistol is there.  Fact.

And now we’re excited about science giving us more and more power.  Fact.

 
 
Hippyhead
 
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Hippyhead
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23 May 2013 07:43
 

I’m curious about your use of the term objectivity.  If we do value objectivity, we should weigh the benefits against the pitfalls of science as a whole.

Ok, fair enough.  My point is, if we blow up civilization, then there will be no benefits of science to weigh.  Thus, using your own sensible equation, it becomes imperative to determine whether we can handle all the power we are giving ourselves.  If we can’t, then all the science has been for nothing.

To toss out all potential scientific advancement because of fear that we might lose control and use nukes against ourselves - toppling civilization as you put it - seems extreme.

It is extreme, agreed.  That’s the point, giving ourselves ever more power puts us in an ever more extreme situation.

To date the number of people killed by the use of nuclear weaponry is dwarfed by the number of people killed by diseases that we can immunize against today because of science.

Yes, to date.  And if that status can be maintained, then you’ve got a good point.  The Cuban Missile Crisis demonstrates how quickly the equation can unravel.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think you are wise to be concerned about the number of nukes out there, but to toss away all science because of them is sort of like tossing out the baby with the bathwater.

Nukes are just a simple example that are handy for quickly making this point.  The larger picture is that we continue to develop more and more powerful technologies of all kinds, and we don’t have a great record of being able to control what we create.

How about this?  Before we rush ahead in to all kinds of new technologies, why don’t we pause first and see if we can clean up the messes we’ve already made.

We could redirect all research in to fixing global warming, and get rid of all the nukes.  If we can’t or won’t clean up the messes we’ve already made via science, what is the logic of giving ourselves ever more power?

 
 
robbrownsyd
 
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robbrownsyd
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23 May 2013 09:03
 

Hippyhead: We could redirect all research in to (sic) fixing global warming, and get rid of all the nukes. If we can’t or won’t clean up the messes we’ve already made via science, what is the logic of giving ourselves ever more power?

“Redirect research”? But that’s still doing that horrible thing called science isn’t it? It’s just doing science with a particular goal in mind.

I get the feeling you want to go back to the dark ages when the average life span was about 20 and we were plagued by disease and had no control over our environment. Far from needing less science we need more. We need as much knowledge and power and wealth as possible to overcome problems that will inevitably beset us in future. Ditching science is akin to sticking ones head in a hole like an ostrich. You can do that if you like. Or pretend to. I bet you’ll still be using your computer and the Internet this time next week and that you’ll take advantage of nuclear medicine when you need it.

You turn back if you want to. I’m all for marching forward boldly into the future. The past is not all that pretty.

BTW, welcome to the Project Reason.

 
nv
 
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nv
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23 May 2013 11:09
 
Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (Rob) - 23 May 2013 07:03 AM

“Redirect research”? But that’s still doing that horrible thing called science isn’t it? It’s just doing science with a particular goal .

Yes. Depending on how you define science, humanity is the science species. We’ve been striving to do science ever since we began talking to each other. Science’s progress arrived slowly due to fear of going too far, too quickly. A certain amount of fear and concern is understandable and useful. But if science as we know it were suddenly to disappear from the world, we’d only start once again to improve our health and take on other difficulties surrounding our comfort and enjoyment through objective analysis. We’d have no choice if we wanted to remain human, as we lack the necessary fur, strength and instinctual awareness at this point, to return to where we came from.

Yes, our species is young in relative terms. Sometimes it seems unlikely to be able to continue. Maintaining our species is indeed a goal worthy of nothing other than science.

 
 
Hippyhead
 
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Hippyhead
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23 May 2013 11:12
 

I get the feeling you want to go back to the dark ages when the average life span was about 20 and we were plagued by disease and had no control over our environment.

Thank you for the welcome, but surely you can contribute something more thoughtful than just labeling me a Luddite, a too predictable response.

I take no offense, and mean none in return, but would invite you to challenge yourself a bit more.  You’re expressing a quite simplistic “more is better” formula for the future of science.

“More is better” was indeed a reasonable formula in the past when we had to struggle for each new piece of data, but we’re entering a new era when discoveries are going to come much more quickly.  It’s not an automatic given that we are in a position to handle the pace of change, nor is it smart to just plunge ahead blindly. 

I’ve suggested what seems a balanced and reasonable proposal.  How about we clean up the last messes we made before creating new ones?  Get rid of the nukes, solve the global warming problem, thus proving we can admit and fix mistakes.  And then continue with future development.

[ Edited: 23 May 2013 11:15 by Hippyhead]
 
 
nv
 
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nv
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23 May 2013 12:55
 
Hippyhead - 23 May 2013 09:12 AM

I get the feeling you want to go back to the dark ages when the average life span was about 20 and we were plagued by disease and had no control over our environment.

Thank you for the welcome, but surely you can contribute something more thoughtful than just labeling me a Luddite, a too predictable response.

I take no offense, and mean none in return, but would invite you to challenge yourself a bit more.  You’re expressing a quite simplistic “more is better” formula for the future of science.

“More is better” was indeed a reasonable formula in the past when we had to struggle for each new piece of data, but we’re entering a new era when discoveries are going to come much more quickly.  It’s not an automatic given that we are in a position to handle the pace of change, nor is it smart to just plunge ahead blindly. 

I’ve suggested what seems a balanced and reasonable proposal.  How about we clean up the last messes we made before creating new ones?  Get rid of the nukes, solve the global warming problem, thus proving we can admit and fix mistakes.  And then continue with future development.

I don’t see science-style thinking as being anything like a faucet whose valve can be opened and closed, though the faucet itself is, admittedly, a science project of sorts. I do see your point, though I don’t quite agree with you as to its validity. What would you propose to slow down runaway scientific accomplishment?

 
 
cunjevoi
 
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cunjevoi
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23 May 2013 13:14
 

From the Oxford Dictionary…

Science - the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

or

a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

Mathematics
Physics/Engineering/Electromagnetism/Quantum Theory
Medicine
Chemistry
Astronomy
Biology
Geology
Geography/Oceanography
Meteorology/Climatology

Which of these fields of endeavour do you think humanity should curb its interest in?

 
bardoXV
 
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bardoXV
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23 May 2013 13:33
 
cunjevoi - 23 May 2013 11:14 AM

From the Oxford Dictionary…

Science - the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

or

a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

Mathematics
Physics/Engineering/Electromagnetism/Quantum Theory
Medicine
Chemistry
Astronomy
Biology
Geology
Geography/Oceanography
Meteorology/Climatology

Which of these fields of endeavour do you think humanity should curb its interest in?

Perhaps he thinks all of them, that way he could just go live in a cave and smoke weed?

 
 
eudemonia
 
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eudemonia
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23 May 2013 13:52
 

‘What about the Mongol conquests (1206-1324) 30,000,000–60,000,000, no “science” at all. ‘

Really GAD? Those ponies they rode evolved, and that is a scientific fact. Plus, what about their weaponry? Technologies, albeit primitive ones, but based on empiricism, if only trial error and experiment.

Everything in the universe compiled of matter/energy is scientific in some way.

 
 
Nhoj Morley
 
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Nhoj Morley
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23 May 2013 14:12
 

The only reason anyone would be crazy enough to use a nuke is to defend their belief system or, to stop someone else’s belief system.

Science is not a belief system. Fans of Newton do not persecute and murder fans of Einstein. Supporting a particular scientific theory will have no bearing on your’s or anyone else’s afterlife. Chopping off the heads of all the scientists in the world won’t make science go away. No religion can make that claim.

We use science to create technologies that we often use badly. Usually, that’s because of what we already believe and not because of what science teaches us.

Problem technologies are best supplanted by more and better technologies. For example, solid-state lighting has the potential to massively impact our energy consumption.


The technical needs of a growing population prevent us from going too far backward unless we want to discuss who needs to die.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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23 May 2013 14:18
 
Epaminondas - 23 May 2013 11:52 AM

‘What about the Mongol conquests (1206-1324) 30,000,000–60,000,000, no “science” at all. ‘

Really GAD? Those ponies they rode evolved, and that is a scientific fact. Plus, what about their weaponry? Technologies, albeit primitive ones, but based on empiricism, if only trial error and experiment.

Everything in the universe compiled of matter/energy is scientific in some way.

You’ve changed the context….

In any case this thread is just a ploy, it’s argument is that science and reason are to dangerous as a justification for ignorance, myth, magic and superstition.

 
 
nv
 
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nv
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23 May 2013 15:03
 
cunjevoi - 23 May 2013 11:14 AM

From the Oxford Dictionary…

Science - the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

or

a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject.

Mathematics
Physics/Engineering/Electromagnetism/Quantum Theory
Medicine
Chemistry
Astronomy
Biology
Geology
Geography/Oceanography
Meteorology/Climatology

Which of these fields of endeavour do you think humanity should curb its interest in?

Good point. Some fields have more controls over them than others—such as experiment ethics in medicine and psychology which prohibit certain directions of inquiry—but each field of science directly relates to potential human benefit.

 
 
Hippyhead
 
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Hippyhead
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23 May 2013 17:15
 
Nhoj Morley - 23 May 2013 12:12 PM

The only reason anyone would be crazy enough to use a nuke is to defend their belief system or, to stop someone else’s belief system.

Most of Kennedy’s cabinet wanted to bomb the Russian missile bases in Cuba, and then invade.  And Kennedy was a Democrat.

The 1960 election was one of the closest in U.S. history.  A relatively tiny number of votes gone the other way and Nixon, a hard core anti-communist Republican, would have been president.  What are the chances that Nixon wouldn’t have bombed the Russian bases?  What are the chances that the shit wouldn’t have hit the fan if he had?

Your theory above assumes human beings are rational, and will always be rational, and thus the one bad day will never come.  That theory is dreamy enough to be in a religion.  All the people involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis were highly intelligent, and we still came within an inch of the end.

What the evidence, thousands of years of human history, actually shows is that human beings are rational for awhile, and then every so often we go bat shit crazy.  One question of this thread is, what kind of tools do we want available during the next bat shit crazy period?

Please recall, the global war in the 1940s had nothing to do with religion, so that explanation is not available.  Most of the slaughter of the 20th century was actually committed by explicitly atheist regimes, so we can’t say we’ll be safe once religion is gone.

 
 
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