QUOTES: On the Arrogance of Scientists

In God, science on March 30, 2009 at 6:12 pm

ERICH HARTH on the relation between bodies and consciousness/mind: “Bordering the outside world are our own bodies. We call them ours but they are also part of the physical world, the world of objects. We know our bodies through the sense of pain and pleasure; we are concerned about them and depend on their well-being. We could not exist without them. But if they are part of the world around us, who are we, around whom this world is displayed?” (p. xvi)

ALVA NOE on how brain IS NOT equal to mind: “To be conscious is to have a world. The fact is, you and I don’t have what it takes to make a world on our own. We find the world, we don’t make it in our brains.

The brain is essential for our lives, physiology, health and experience. But the idea that it is the whole story, or even the key to understanding the story, is not a scientific conclusion. It’s a prejudice. Consciousness requires the joint operation of the brain, the body and the world.

In fact, neuroscience is probably not in the best position to answer questions of consciousness and mind and experience. When we look for who and what we are in the brain alone, we lose the phenomena that interest us most.

P. W. ANDERSON on the naivete of strict reductionism: “the more the elementary particle physicists tell us about the nature of the fundamental laws, the less relevance they seem to have to the very real problems of the rest of science, much less to those of society.”

“the behavior of large and complex aggregates of elementary particles, it turns out, is not to be understood in terms of a simple extrapolation of the properties of a few particles. Instead, at each level of complexity entirely new properties appear…..Psychology is not applied biology, nor is biology applied chemistry.”

“Surely there are more levels of organization between human ethology and DNA than there are between DNA and quantum electrodynamics”

JONAH LEHRER on neuroscience’s efforts to reduce consciousness to the brain: “I think it’s quite interesting how scientific questions about consciousness have grown more and more limited in scope over the years.”

“While neuroscience continues to make astonishing progress in learning about the details of the brain–we are a strange loop of kinase enzymes and synaptic chemistry–these details only highlight our enduring enigma, which is that we don’t experience these cellular details. It is ironic, but true: The one reality science cannot reduce is the only reality we will ever know.”

My two cents:

How can science so arrogantly claim that God doesn’t exist when it is not even in a position to discover anything meaningful about the very essence of our humanity? The very concept of God is far, far above the level of humanity – definitely more levels above than the distance between human ethology and DNA. Given those limitations of perception and experience that stick to us as humans, can we claim to have jumped so many levels beyond ourselves and confidently confirm that God does not exist, as if we have observed things from many many unimaginable levels of existence beyond our own?

Or, as Richard Feynman famously quipped, science is the belief in the ignorance of experts

"they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills" [Aya 255, Al-Baqarah]

"Ayat-al-Kursi: they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills"

Possibly related in this blog:

On prophetic revelation and subjectivity


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