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Author Topic:   What does life do outside of science?
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1905 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 1 of 112 (242237)
09-11-2005 10:09 AM


DHR writes:

Ben writes:

It's not a science board. I really hope we don't turn it into one. Science is a way to argue inductively. That's it. Life contains many things outside of it.

Name one thing life does outside of science.

Top to bottom, all life exists without science. The wind blows without science. Balls drop without science. Science is just a descriptive means to predict and manipulate.

Now, maybe you're asking a different question:

me writes:

what part of life exists outside the scope of empirical observation and can't be addressed using the scientific method?

Well... some life searches for meaning and value in life. You simply can't get an answer scientifically at this point. The only approach at the moment is to go outside of science.

(I anticipate this will be a discussion of the limits and boundaries of the utility of science, so I'd suggest "Is it Science?")

This message has been edited by Ben, Tuesday, 2006/01/03 06:09 PM


Replies to this message:
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AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 112 (242242)
09-11-2005 10:17 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 112 (242243)
09-11-2005 10:33 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Ben!
09-11-2005 10:09 AM


Well... some life searches for meaning and value in life. You simply can't get an answer scientifically at this point.

I find science to be both a source of meaning and value, so it's not clear to me, exactly, what you're talking about here. Why can't science inform us as to the value and meaning of our lives?

Now, if you mean that science cannot provide the answers that some might want, that's probably true - science isn't going to tell us that the universe exists for our sole perusal, or that we hold magisterium over the planet's resources - but that's because those things don't appear to be true.

Science certainly can't provide the lies that some people so desparately need to hear, but I hardly see that as evidence that science is somehow "limited." In fact, in general I don't put much stock in arguments that assert "oh, that's outside the purview of science" with absolutely no rationale of why this would be so.

If it can be sensed; if ideas about it can reside within our brains, then why would it be outside of the purview of science?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Ben!, posted 09-11-2005 10:09 AM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by Ben!, posted 09-11-2005 11:26 AM crashfrog has responded
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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1905 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 4 of 112 (242252)
09-11-2005 11:26 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
09-11-2005 10:33 AM


I don't get it at all
If it can be sensed; if ideas about it can reside within our brains, then why would it be outside of the purview of science?

I don't get it at all. Can you show me a scientific approach to finding meaning? I'm interested to see you justify a particular operational definition of meaning. And once you've done it, I'm interested for you to show me the results. Please point me to the scientific study that gives us the meaning of life.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by nwr, posted 09-11-2005 11:40 AM Ben! has not yet responded
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 09-11-2005 11:40 AM Ben! has responded
 Message 7 by Nuggin, posted 09-11-2005 11:48 AM Ben! has responded

    
nwr
Member
Posts: 5586
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 5 of 112 (242258)
09-11-2005 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Ben!
09-11-2005 11:26 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
Please point me to the scientific study that gives us the meaning of life.

I always wonder what people mean by "meaning" when they ask these questions. It seems to me that "meaning" is a subjective term. It becomes the question "what does life mean to me." No scientific study can give us "the meaning of life," because there is no such thing as "the meaning of life." There is my meaning of life (what life means to me), and there is your meaning of life. We each have to decide for ourselves what life means for us.

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 112 (242259)
09-11-2005 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Ben!
09-11-2005 11:26 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
I'm interested to see you justify a particular operational definition of meaning.

It's the same as yours. If you don't know what meaning is, how can you search for it? How can you know if you've found it?

Isn't meaning simply the information we learn about the world outside us that places our own internal lives in context? Why do you believe that such a thing is somehow beyond science? It sounds to me like science is perfectly suited to addressing the place of an individual within the universe.

Please point me to the scientific study that gives us the meaning of life.

I don't need to do that, any more than I would need a scientific study to prove that science informs us about the natural world. The meaning derived from science comes from science's study of the world, not science's study of meaning.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Ben!, posted 09-11-2005 11:26 AM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Ben!, posted 09-11-2005 8:40 PM crashfrog has not yet responded
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Nuggin
Member (Idle past 776 days)
Posts: 2965
From: Los Angeles, CA USA
Joined: 08-09-2005


Message 7 of 112 (242261)
09-11-2005 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Ben!
09-11-2005 11:26 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
I'm not sure science has ever claimed to try to give the "meaning" of life.

I am sure that religion does claim to give the "meaning" of life.

So, can you tell us what the meaning of life is? Also, can you show that is applies for all perspectives? That those who don't follow your particular religion can not achieve meaning in their lives?

Instead of demanding answers from science that science doesn't claim to give, maybe we need to start turning this argument around and asking why religion doesn't answer the questions it claims to be able to answer.


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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1905 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 8 of 112 (242264)
09-11-2005 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Nuggin
09-11-2005 11:48 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
Instead of demanding answers from science that science doesn't claim to give[

Read the opening post, Nuggin. I'm not the one demanding this of science.

maybe we need to start turning this argument around and asking why religion doesn't answer the questions it claims to be able to answer.

Absolutely. I think the answer to that question is the same answer to why science doesn't answer questions. I'll work on that as a response to crashfrog's post #6.


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Ben!
Member (Idle past 1905 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 9 of 112 (242353)
09-11-2005 8:40 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
09-11-2005 11:40 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
Isn't meaning simply the information we learn about the world outside us that places our own internal lives in context?

I don't think so. I can put my life in all sorts of context and feel no sense of meaning at all. I think meaning is more a guttoral state; you either feel your life has purpose or not. For some people this can be reached through thinking and searching, maybe through establishing context. For some people, they never doubt it and never have to worry about it. For some people, they discover it through your "lies" etc. For some people, they find meaning through love, through having children, through... all sorts of things. There are lots of path to meaning which do not go through science. Lots of people have meaning in their lives, and they wouldn't be able to do science even if they tried.

The meaning derived from science comes from science's study of the world, not science's study of meaning.

But that's not necessary at all. Maybe crashfrog's meaning is derived from science's study of the world... what about Barry Bonds' meaning? Jane Fonda's? This guy's?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 09-11-2005 11:40 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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DominionSeraph
Member (Idle past 3037 days)
Posts: 365
From: on High
Joined: 01-26-2005


Message 10 of 112 (242488)
09-12-2005 11:15 AM


Yes, science cannot address the purpose of 'life', as purpose is subjective and relative.

  
Silent H
Member (Idle past 4103 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 11 of 112 (242619)
09-12-2005 2:51 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by crashfrog
09-11-2005 11:40 AM


Re: I don't get it at all
We have been through something very similar to this before. I am firmly on Ben's side with respect to this issue.

Science is merely a methodology which attempts to produce accurate models of natural phenomena through inductive reasoning. There is no focus or tools for subjective moral phenomena to be studied via this methodology.

Isn't meaning simply the information we learn about the world outside us that places our own internal lives in context? Why do you believe that such a thing is somehow beyond science? It sounds to me like science is perfectly suited to addressing the place of an individual within the universe.

Science can at best place you in a physical context with other natural entities. It cannot address your "internal" life, much less place it in a "meaningful" context.

Here is an example. Meteorology can determine that a hurricane is almost guaranteed to hit a coastline where many other people live. Geology can determine that vast segments of that coastline are likely to be submerged and anything less than 20 feet in height are likely to be washed away/killed. Geography can determine exactly where you will be in relation to that coastline (within, or outside).

There is no science which can determine (quantify or qualify) what meaning that hurricane has for your life or vice versa. Beyond being an entity likely or unlikely to feel the direct effects of that hurricane, there is no other context science can give you.

Only initial subjective positions, which science cannot measure, will tell you whether you must flee the area to protect your family (or yourself), or whether you should stay to help others, or move from a position of safety to risk your own life to help out. Nor can it tell you whether you did right or wrong depending on your choice.

You may choose to answer my reply or not. I simply throw this example into the arena so that you can see the distinction I believe Ben is addressing.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 12 of 112 (242649)
09-12-2005 3:51 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Ben!
09-11-2005 8:40 PM


Re: I don't get it at all
you either feel your life has purpose or not.

I guess that counts me out then. I don't really feel that my life or that of anyone else has any objective meaning whatsoever in the grand scheme of things.
That doesn't mean that I want it to end or that I don't respect it in others. It is just that IMO "meaning" is a meaningless concept. It is just the product of uncaring physics and chemistry. Everything that we see, hear, feel and see is just a bunch of meaningless chemical reactions (which science can quite easily measure).
Even the concept of something "outside of science" is produced by some chemical fluctuation in a net of neurons in the brain that is caused by physical interactions between known chemicals and electrical impulses. In other words science is all over it.

IMO "outside of science" is a meaningless concept.


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 Message 9 by Ben!, posted 09-11-2005 8:40 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Ben!, posted 09-12-2005 3:59 PM PurpleYouko has responded
 Message 46 by tsig, posted 09-13-2005 9:04 PM PurpleYouko has responded
 Message 94 by SuperNintendo Chalmers, posted 12-30-2005 7:10 PM PurpleYouko has responded

  
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1905 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 13 of 112 (242652)
09-12-2005 3:59 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by PurpleYouko
09-12-2005 3:51 PM


Re: I don't get it at all
Everything that we see, hear, feel and see is just a bunch of meaningless chemical reactions (which science can quite easily measure).

Actually, "science" CANNOT measure this easily. We have all sorts of difficulty measuring chemical reactions in human brains because we have laws and standards against these invasive procedures.

Which makes me wonder... can you describe these laws and standards through the scientific method? Surely you don't expect me to believe that you can give me a reduction of these laws and standards to chemistry. That would be a real overstatement of our current scientific knowledge.

That which cannot be described using current scientific theories is outside of science. We're stuck with folk psychology for now, my purple friend.


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 Message 12 by PurpleYouko, posted 09-12-2005 3:51 PM PurpleYouko has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by PurpleYouko, posted 09-12-2005 4:10 PM Ben! has responded
 Message 15 by PurpleYouko, posted 09-12-2005 4:26 PM Ben! has responded

    
PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 14 of 112 (242657)
09-12-2005 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Ben!
09-12-2005 3:59 PM


Re: I don't get it at all
Actually, "science" CANNOT measure this easily. We have all sorts of difficulty measuring chemical reactions in human brains because we have laws and standards against these invasive procedures.

That isn't a fallability of science though. Science doesn't care about laws. It is possible to measure the reactions in a brain. very probably not ethical but definitely possible.

Which makes me wonder... can you describe these laws and standards through the scientific method? Surely you don't expect me to believe that you can give me a reduction of these laws and standards to chemistry. That would be a real overstatement of our current scientific knowledge.

Well since every law in existence came from somebody's brain then it follows that chemistry and in fact ultimately physics, is behind all of it at its basest level. Fellings = Reactions.
Scientists can induce a lot of supposedly abstract "feelings" with electrodes, strobe light patterns and all manner of physical stuff.

That which cannot be described using current scientific theories is outside of science. We're stuck with folk psychology for now, my purple friend.

I don't buy this. Science doesn't stop being there just because we haven't found it yet. Besides which, to the best of my knowledge, the stuff I mentioned has already been done.
Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so. I think I will go and google for a while to see if I can come up with a few examples.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Ben!, posted 09-12-2005 3:59 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by Ben!, posted 09-12-2005 4:28 PM PurpleYouko has responded

  
PurpleYouko
Member
Posts: 713
From: Columbia Missouri
Joined: 11-11-2004


Message 15 of 112 (242663)
09-12-2005 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Ben!
09-12-2005 3:59 PM


Re: I don't get it at all
OK here's one that looked interesting.

Ever heard of a TransCranial magnetic stimulator?

quote:
The device can, for some people, be used to create religious experiences. Using the transcranial magnetic stimulator to apply a magnetic field to the temporal lobes can cause people to experience God. This phenomenon is not limited only to believers; even atheists can be caused to have religious experiences using the transcranial magnetic stimulator.

Apparently it can make people experience feelings of "Meaning" too.

quote:
Everything around them is imbued with cosmic significance. They may say, 'I finally understand what it's all about. This is the moment I've been waiting for all my life. Suddenly it all makes sense.' Or, 'Finally I have insight into the true nature of the cosmos.'

Ironically it is impossible to prove (with current science) whether the experience is completely fake or whether they are actually stimulating a "real" connection with God. :laugh:
I tend to think "fake" but that is just the chemical reactions in my brain speaking. I can't "prove" it either way. The only thing I do know is that whatever is happening has a firm founding in "Science"


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Ben!, posted 09-12-2005 3:59 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Ben!, posted 09-12-2005 4:34 PM PurpleYouko has responded

  
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