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Author Topic: Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?  (Read 1763 times)

Offline coberst

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Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?
« on: 12/03/2009 19:30:46 »
Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?

The Scientific Method seeks to bracket [fence out] meaningfulness.  The scientific method hates bias and bias is one form of meaning.  Bias causes the individual to often distort “truth”.  In the lab bias is the enemy, i.e. meaning is the enemy.

Religion seeks to bracket the “word”, i.e. to create a fence protecting the “word” from outside influence.  Religion seeks to bracket human critical thought.  I was raised as a Catholic and went to Catholic schools and was taught by nuns.  I learned quickly that to “entertain” impure thoughts (thoughts about sex) or questions about my religion were sinful and had to be confessed to a priest in the confessional.

What is meaning?

Meaning is not a thing: meaning is a creatures’ association with an object.

Meaning and epistemology (what can we know and how can we know it) go together like a “horse and carriage”.  Epistemology is about comprehension.

Comprehension can be usefully thought of as being hierarchical and formed like a pyramid.  At the base is awareness followed by consciousness.  Awareness is the beginning of comprehension; it begins with preconceptual and unconscious happenings in our brain.  Consciousness adds to awareness the focus of our attention on this object that results from awareness.  We are aware of much and we are conscious of little.  When I walk in the woods I am aware of much and become quickly terrified by the consciousness of a shape that makes me think bear.

Knowing follows consciousness on this pyramid.  Knowing is followed by understanding.   Understanding is at the pinnacle of the pyramid of comprehension.

Meaning follows comprehension side by side.  Meaning begins with awareness and grows with consciousness and knowing.  At the pinnacle of the pyramid is the creation of new meaning through the process of our understanding, which organizes into a gestalt that which is known.  The understanding at the pinnacle of comprehension is that rare moment of eureka when all becomes clear after a great struggle to understand a complex matter.  Understanding is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle where our knowledge are the pieces of the puzzle.

Understanding is a far step beyond knowing and is significantly different from knowing.  Knowledge seeks truth whereas understanding seeks meaning.  The following analogy signifies the stages of comprehension as well as the stages of meaningfulness:

Awareness--faces in a crowd.

Consciousness—smile, a handshake, and curiosity.

Knowledge—long talks sharing desires and ambitions.

Understanding—a best friend bringing constant April.

The instinctive force that provides us with the momentum to survive has driven us to seek out a niche for humanity that rests between the gods and the animals.  We need a supreme being to provide a means for immortality and we cannot but recognize our animal nature.  Our problem has been to create a place for the human species that rests between heaven and earth, between the gods and the animals.

In the process of creating this in-between resting place we have overemphasized our “cool reason” and underestimated our “imagination and heated passions”.  We have placed cool reason; devoid of imagination and animal passion, on a pedestal and in so doing we have tried to disassociate our imagination from our reason.  We have failed to recognize the essential role of imagination plays in all aspects of thinking and “reasoning”.

In this process we have forced our self to deny that reason has a central role in morality.  We deny reason as being a gestalt with feeling, imagination, and passion, i.e. our embodied rationality, a fundamental role in learning how to “get-along and reason together”.

Empathy is at the core of morality and imaginative rationality is at the core of empathy.

“Robert Unger describes as passionate “the whole range of interpersonal encounters in which people do not treat one another as means to one another’s ends.”  Passion is the basis of our noninstrumental relations to others, and it takes us beyond fixed character, social roles, and institutional arrangements.”

Quotes from Moral Imagination by Mark Johnson





 

Offline nubemet

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Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?
« Reply #1 on: 27/03/2009 06:43:13 »
Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?

The Scientific Method seeks to bracket [fence out] meaningfulness.  The scientific method hates bias and bias is one form of meaning.  Bias causes the individual to often distort “truth”.  In the lab bias is the enemy, i.e. meaning is the enemy.


The scientific method hates bias not because it causes the individual to "distort" truth (<without quotation marks), but rather because it causes the individual to miss the truth!

Quote
Meaning is not a thing: meaning is a creatures’ association with an object.

With this I can agree. But for me, Morality is a word that by definition can not be defined:)
For one person it is immoral to kill an ant, for another it is moral and obligatory to fly into buildings.
« Last Edit: 27/03/2009 06:44:57 by nubemet »
 

Offline coberst

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Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?
« Reply #2 on: 27/03/2009 10:39:02 »

Morality is about relationships.

I suspect that most of us are willing to agree that, broadly speaking, we have ‘fact knowledge’ and ‘relationship knowledge’. I would like to take this a step further by saying that I wish to claim that fact knowledge is mono-logical and relationship knowledge is multi-logical.

Mono-logical matters have one set of principles guiding their solution. Often these mono-logical matters have a paradigm.  The natural sciences—normal sciences—as Thomas Kuhn labels it in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” move forward in a “successive transition from one paradigm to another”. A paradigm defines the theory, rules and standards of practice. “In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possible pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.”

Multi-logical problems are different in kind from mono-logical matters.

Socratic dialogue is one technique for attempting to grapple with multi-logical problems; problems that are either not pattern like or that the pattern is too complex to ascertain. Most problems that we face in our daily life are such multi-logical in nature. Simple problems that occur daily in family life are examples. Each member of the family has a different point of view with differing needs and desires. Most of the problems we constantly face are not readily solved by mathematics because they are not pattern specific and are multi-logical.

Dialogue is a technique for mutual consideration of such problems wherein solutions grow in a dialectical manner. Through dialogue each individual brings his/her point of view to the fore by proposing solutions constructed around their specific view. All participants in the dialogue come at the solution from the logic of their views. The solution builds dialectically i.e. a thesis is developed and from this thesis and a contrasting antithesis is constructed a synthesis that takes into consideration both proposals. From this a new synthesis a new thesis is developed.

When we are dealing with mono-logical problems well circumscribed by algorithms the personal biases of the subject are of small concern. In multi-logical problems, without the advantage of paradigms and algorithms, the biases of the problem solvers become a serious source of error. One important task of dialogue is to illuminate these prejudices which may be quite subtle and often out of consciousness of the participant holding them.

Our society is very good while dealing with mono-logical problems. Our society is terrible while dealing with multi-logical problems.

Do you not think that we desperately need to understand CT, which attempts to help us understand how to think about multi-logical problems? Do you not think that it is worth while for every adult to get up off their ‘intellectual couch’ and teach themselves CT?
When we attempt to solve problems in physics we have the logic (principles) of the prevailing paradigm to direct our efforts.  We have a single logic (set of principles) to guide us.

When we encounter an ethical problem we almost always have to deal with economic considerations, religious considerations, perhaps legal considerations, etc.  Each one of these domains of knowledge has its own set of principles, its own logic.

Thus in solving problems in a normal science, one with a paradigm, we have a monological problem.  When we deal with many other types of problems that we encounter in living we must deal simultaneously with several domains of knowledge each with its own logic, thus we have multilogical problems.

Monological is single logic, multilogical is more than one logic.
 

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Are Science and Religion Enemies of Morality?
« Reply #2 on: 27/03/2009 10:39:02 »

 

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