RE: MD On Faith

From: Scott Roberts (
Date: Fri Oct 08 2004 - 19:31:20 BST

  • Next message: Charles Roghair: "Re: MD A bit of reasoning"


    > It may not be necessary for scientists to have faith in all the
    > assumptions I listed, but I dare say most scientists do. Certainly it is
    > necessary for scientists to have faith in determinism, rationalism,
    > reductionism, empiricism, materialism, mechanism, and experimental
    > verification.

    Not in their philosophical meaning, except for experimental verification.
    Quantum physics, for example, denies philosophical determinism. Rationalism
    and empiricism -- yes, a scientist must believe that reason and empirical
    investigation do give trustworthy results, but the sense in which Descartes
    was a rationalist and :Locke was as empiricist does not apply.
    Determinism, reductionism, materialism and mechanism are not necessary. The
    scientist investigates patterns of events. It does not matter whether those
    patterns are assumed to be at bottom mechanistic or completely material, or
    whether they are assumed to have been absolutely determined, or come about
    by chance (as long as there are enough events that patterns emerge), or
    come about through rational choices (ditto).

    > I agree with Pirsig that "might-makes-right" is a biological pattern:
    > "What's coming out of the urban slums, where old Victorian social moral
    > codes are almost completely destroyed, isn't any new paradise the
    > revolutionaries hoped for, but a reversion to rule by terror, violence
    > gang death-the old biological might-makes-right morality of prehistoric
    > brigandage that primitive societies were set up to overcome." (Lila, 24)

    He is referring to plain "I'm bigger than you so you must do what I say"
    mentality, that of the bully, for example. A bully is a terrorist, but when
    one speaks of terrorists in the news, one is speaking of a non-primitive
    social group using terror tactics to achieve social ends. A suicide bomber
    represses the biological survival pattern for a social end.

    > Your use of the word "oppression" leaves much in limbo. Seems everyone
    > these days, in order to engender sympathy as victims, claims to be
    > oppressed. For instance, I, as a male WASP, am oppressed by feminists and
    > diversity advocates, not to mention the PC crowd. That's hardly an excuse
    > for me and my fellow WASPs to set off a bomb in Harvard Square, killing
    > innocent civilians as "a means to a social end."

    I used the formulation "if I believed that my social group was being
    oppressed" and "if I decide to fight it" so as not to get into this sort of
    thing. I'm not out to justify terrorism.

    - Scott

    MOQ.ORG -
    Mail Archives:
    Aug '98 - Oct '02 -
    Nov '02 Onward -
    MD Queries -

    To unsubscribe from moq_discuss follow the instructions at:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Oct 09 2004 - 00:59:09 BST