Sorry minasoliman I should have gone a bit deeper into your response, I enjoy discussing with you.
Science is a method, not a faith to me.
It's a method to me too. But it rest on an epistemology, logical empiricism, which I think you would classify as my faith. Since I place my trust in it, it would be tediously pedantic for me to split semantic hairs with you, so I won't. Certainly I place my trust in logical empiricism.
Ya, we'll get into semantics. I think by now, you understand what I mean when I say science to you is both a method and faith. Science to me is a method, but the faith lies in Christianity. I suppose when I do science, I do it as a way of praising God. I know it's trivial to you if I in the end end up helping somebody along the way. But this is a form of a Machiavellian philosophy, i.e. that the ends justify the means. As I am reading this message, that's the impression I'm getting.
When science becomes a faith, it makes sense as to why character improvement is not in the picture. They instead would like to analyze what it is that leads one to believe in character improvement, but they already assume its falsehood from the beginning, and so they've convinced themselves not to be "ensnared" into this "garbage" concerning the validity of things that improve success and character, but understand, let's say, how it sociologically and neurobiologically works, which literally defeats the purpose out of anything really.
Scientists, and I along with them, would claim a distinction between utility and truth. A concept can be true yet lack utility in a particular circumstance. Likewise, a concept can be false yet in a particular circumstance be highly utile. If a lie is the only, or the best, tool currently available, one may legitimately employ it, but one would hopefully retain some reservations about doing so, and be on the look-out for a truth that one could employ instead, one with equal or greater utility. After all, lies can be found out, at which point their utility evaporates. I'm having this exact discussion on my thread about atheism and the 12 step movement.
Where's this discussion? What's the 12 step movement?
Humanity has logic, but it also has emotion. Science by definition is only logic.
When humanity follows science alone, you pretty much seek to destroy the emotion out of anything.
I would say instead that logic and emotion govern separate domains. Aesthetics is largely emotional for most people, and certainly for me. Arguments as to why it's illogical for me to like a particular song will fall on deaf ears. I don't care about logic when listening to a song. Likewise, I don't care about emotion when assessing a proposition about causality.
Forgive me, I don't mean to say that emotion justifies my faith. Logic justifies science. Emotion justifies morals. Logic and Emotion together justifies the transcendant in my opinion. I like what Archbishop Rowan Williams says here that I think Jetevan posts elsewhere:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POBKL0zHZyc
Beauty is an emotion. It is an idea that we cannot prove scientifically, but while there might be some scientific principles of beauty, certainly science can only go so far, and emotion can only go so far as well. I think both combine to develop the sense of the truth of beauty.
I've heard from many Christians, even ancient ones, that the spirit is the intellect. I think there's more to the spirit than just intellect or emotion. It's the means of transcending both, and bridge to the divine. We can scientifically explain intellect and emotion. But we also can see beauty in them. To turn it into something meaningless as long as we can get practical results is essentially ignoring Nature's cry and praise.
Slowly, we turn pretty much into programmed robots.
I'm a big fan of robots.
I also happily view myself, and you, and all living creatures, as automotons, programmed by chemistry and history.
I suspect sapient robots, if they ever emerge, will have logic and will, but no emotion. Thus happiness will be alien to them. But purpose and its fulfillment will be front and center in their mental apparatus. They will do what they must because they must, and in that, they won't be so very different from you and me.
This is a matter of glass half empty vs. glass half full. You stress that they won't be very different from you and me. But I can stress that their seemingly minute difference makes us very different from you and me. I'm not sure though if you as a scientist is willing to agree that we won't be able to program emotion in robots as well. I think there's a lot of faith in the scientific community that they can recreate humanity with nuts and bolts once they crack the human "neuro code," or "neurome," if you know what I mean.
You've probably heard the adage before, "science seeks to ask how, religion seeks to ask why." Those who are rigid in following science as a faith say there's no such thing as a why. It just is.
The stream of causality stretches backward into what might as well be infinity, and forward, likewise, into what might as well be infinity. The difference between past and future is this: the past can be known, whereas the future can only be guessed. The present, meanwhile, can sometimes be controled. Science, in its most actualized state, permits us to know the past, control the present, and guess with some confidence the future. Interestingly, science has always assumed the stream of causality flowed only in one direction, from the past through the present to the future. Recent experiments in quantum mechanics have yielded data suggestive of backward causality, the reversal of the stream, so that it flows from the future through the present to the past. I mention this because backward causality is implied in Christian eschatology as some would interpret it. The Parousia, being foreordained, reaches backward into the past to ensure its own present. An interesting correlation between the underpinnings of theology and the latest findings in science. Source regarding the science: Understanding Time and Causality is the Key to Understanding Quantum Mechanics - http://www.wheaton.edu/physics/faculty/wharton/time_and_causality.pdf
In any case, when you talk about why, you mean purpose, hence will. You want the universe to have a will, so you assume it does. I don't have that particular desire, but if I did, and if I decided to fulfill it by fiat; I.e., by simply saying it was so; I would figure the will of the universe was mutation and natural selection, flux and struggle, innovation and competition, abundance and annihilation, diversity and brutality, since those are what I see around me. But since those things I see around me would be there any way, willed or unwilled, I am apathetic as to whether will is present.
Let me take your thought a bit further. I think science has faith that they can one day control the future. With the way things are going, they've abandoned other faiths and seemed to go along with a hope that if not them, their progeny can be immortal, and maybe even time travel, collect DNA and Neurological circuits of people, where we can be recreated, reborn, and live while keeping our memories intact. I think this hope really validates a true purpose in people that seem to want to fully and without a doubt invalidate other faiths that speak about afterlives and ever-existence. It speaks to those who truly want to live forever, and so their actions and purpose of advancing what we know seems to show they have some hope perhaps in a form of scientific "resurrection."
In other words the hope is there. The faith is there. Without this, I don't think the scientific community really can function. This is the underlying understanding of an ultimate purpose. These people have a passion for science by a hope that really tries if anything to destroy the notion of nihilism. The problem is not all will be saved
But this is the point. It's not that I want the Universe to have a will. I truly believe the will is programmed in us. The truth of this will what I investigate. I believe that a lot people seem to bank on living longer as an ultimate purpose. But living longer is only a means of the ultimate purpose, and that is the communion with God. I am convinced that communion with God is an experience that allows me to forget about everything else behind me, a true "high" so to speak, and I seek it because it's the same high I achieve when selfless love is given to me, and I give back. If life was merely about trying to strive to live longer, then really, there's no point in faith in God unless there's no hope for man to achieve this, and even if there isn't hope, as you personally see it, you find no difference in living forever in God or dying forever because you don't understand what communion in God really means and really feels like.
That's terrifying. Instead of making sense out of why, the why in us is sought to be destroyed.
Terrifying to you, trivial to me. The universe may or may not have a will, but you have a will, and I have a will. You have reasons and I have reasons. If the universe has a will, my own must align with it, since I'm part of the universe, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this would likewise fulfill the universe's will. If the universe doesn't have a will, then my own is as good as any other, so my most logical course would be to fulfill my own will, as this will make me happiest. Thus, once again, as is always the case, the question of God's existence is irrelevant, and I am therefore apathetic toward it.
So, it is this "why" that scientists call a self-deception. But if the why is always nagging at me, then I call the rejection of the why a delusion.
Yet the Earth abounds with purpose, and scientists acknowledge it. I mean the purposes of earthly creatures. Everywhere living beings pursue their goals.
If all purposes seem to lead to non-existence as an ultimate end, there's really no point.
I don't know how scientists see this as self-deception. Of course this goes both ways, but I wonder at people like CS Lewis, Francis Collins, Ann Rice, all who were atheists, all who understand what this is, and yet they decided to reject that this is a case of self-deception, that there is validity to asking the question "why."
Usually what happens is a tap on the shoulder from death. Suddenly mortality is brought into sharp focus, and up pops fear.
But Christianity in its essence is totally against this. "Oh Death" says St. Paul, "where is thy sting?" Christians in history, true Christians, have been shown to be fearless to death.
Even atheists agree that there are a certain set of morals to follow when interacting with others.
I don't. But I think we humans can agree to be good to one another for practical reasons.
You know, the best salesman is one who believes in the product he sells. If the salesman simply pretends and is indifferent, or worse, actually hates the product, he may be practical for himself for a while, but eventually, when the drive and passion is not there, you tend to hate it or drive yourself crazy.
If life is nothing more than practical, then those who are passionate about it really are just wasting their passion. And certainly, there are those who definitely wish to choose, if won't choose, to do the opposite of what is considered good to certain others.
It seems to me also, the drive to be practical is fear of chaos, and fear of death. I see more fear in this than in believing in the transcendant.
The ultimate reality of a perfect life is a life with no laws, where all truly live with understanding and love and a way to move forward fearlessly. This is not just a spirit of practicality, but in essence a passion that aids in enlivening practicality. Practicality is dead without actually feeling the necessity of its practicality.
So, I'm not really convinced by subjectivity. It is extremely inconsistent to me.
That's because very few people are willing to admit that there is no such thing as objective morality, and so they project their subjective preferences onto the universe. and imagine their own wills to be the will of God. The only reason Christianity makes sense to you is because selflessness makes sense to you.
However, for practical reasons, you believe that we should do good to others. First, that's assuming that everyone agrees what good means. I think your intention was believing in the golden rule, "Do unto others as you want others to do unto you." Even the golden rule becomes an objective morality now. Practically speaking, we have to live as if there exists objective truth.
Doctors do much practical good in the world, but they can be a bunch of arrogant self-worshippers sometimes. They too can be saints and heros in at least the work they do, but a lot of people can agree that they are necessary, but not necessarily good.
You mean morally good, which to me is irrelevant. Practical results are what matter. Help me for selfish reasons and you have still helped me. I don't need you to be selfless.
There's that Machiavellian idea again. The ends justify the means. I know you don't take this idea strictly, because you still believe that there is a "good" man does, and that is this golden rule. But I say practicality can also mean that if I have to kill a few people to get somewhere faster, I think this world would be up for some competition of traits once again. Subjectivity only exists in an abstract sense it seems when looking at the world with its different cultures and rules. Objectivity exists in a concrete sense when looking at the need to survive as a group, and so to make this practical, you also need to make it feel practical. What this indicates to me is not the existence of subjectivity, but rather the existence of true objective rules and false ones, one that can stand out and invalidate all other rules.