Effect Measure

Nothing.

Comments

  1. #1 carl
    August 20, 2006

    If nothing, then perhaps one should cull humans deemed to be a threat of contagious disease as esily as birds…the cost of the culls might be less than the cost of the health care.

  2. #2 christian
    August 20, 2006

    The ‘rest of the natural world’ is unable to grasp a concept like “nothing”, let alone write it down.

  3. #3 revere
    August 20, 2006

    carl: There seem to be no shortage of high officials working to make this happen and no shortage of apocalyptics wishing for it.

    christian: (a) How do you know? (b) so what? We have a dog that whines and pees and a chair that doesn’t. Big deal. There are also people who grasp quantum mechanics and can write it down. Are you one of them? Does that make you fundamentally different from someone who can or can’t? I don’t get the logic here.

  4. #4 Benjamin Franz
    August 20, 2006

    In a strict sense, humans are just another part of the natural world. It is a false position to class humans and what they do as not being part of the natural world.

    In the sense I think you are asking, we are the current top ‘thinkers’ (our evolutionary speciality is thinking).

    In a very real sense we are the “cheetahs” of thinking on Earth.

    Our teeth are nothing special, our adaptation to harsh weather is only fair, our speed is low, our eyesight adequate but not extraordinary, our size large (but not extremely so), our jumping capability poor, our swimming ability limitted, our ability to eat unusual foods restricted. Our (unassisted) ability to communicate doesn’t even reach to the horizon.

    We can’t hibernate, echo locate, burrow, or live in trees. We can’t sense magnetic fields or the polarization of light in the sky. Our hearing only reaches to about 20Khz, our night vision frankly sucks compared to many other animals. We can’t fly, hold our breath for more than a few tens of seconds or survive months without a source of food and water.

    But we can out-think any other animal on the planet: It’s what we do.

  5. #5 HatTrick
    August 20, 2006

    What separates humans from the rest of the natural world? Well, which species, other than man, is stupid enough to decide that it’s best to be lead by the dumbest, most malicious, and weakest example of their kind?

    This makes me feel tragically separated from the rest of the natural world.

  6. #6 revere
    August 20, 2006

    Benjamin: Ah, yes, true. But one of the tricky parts of this is that “thinking” has often been accorded special status, leading to the problems of the Cartesian duality or the root conflict between Spinoza and Leibniz which endures today (see our other post today on evolution attitudes in the US). It isn’t clear from your comment whether you assign “thinking” to the natural world, although I am inferring you do. In which case, “nothing” is still the answer. I wasn’t really asking what is the special evolutionary advantage of humans but whether there is any qualitative difference about us, the question of “human exceptionalism.”

    HatTrick: Maybe if we knew more about coyotes or chickens or cockroaches we’d find that electing George Bush wasn’t that unusual. Or maybe not.

  7. #7 Benjamin Franz
    August 20, 2006

    revere: You are right – I am not a dualist. I regard thought as ‘just something matter does’. As to human ‘exceptionalism': Humans are ‘exceptional’ only in the sense that we are humans. Being human, I naturally have a bias for humans. If I were a tiger, I would naturally have a similar bias for tigers.

    But since I am a human, the broken symmetry of ‘species exceptionalism’ is in favor of humans. Any other position is evolutionary suicide.

    But in an ‘objective’ sense, no – humans are not ‘exceptional’.

  8. #8 carl
    August 20, 2006

    If “There seem to be no shortage of high officials working to make this happen and no shortage of apocalyptics wishing for it.” what would it matter? If there are no differences between humans and the rest of the natural world then what difference does it make if high official work for it or apocalyptics wish for it? The issue here, I think, comes when you move from the proposition that there is nothing that separates humans from the natural world to conclude that humans have no more value than other elements of the natural world. Once you have taken that step then doing the human culls is no more difficult than doing the bird culls. It is the humanitaritans I believe, like Schweitzer and Mother Teresa, who value human beings as intrinsically more that other parts of the natural world that are to be valued more than those who would say there is no fundamental differnce between a human infant and a rodent. It would be difficult to hold a proposition that humans are not an intrinsic part of the natural world. That is diffierent than arguing there is no difference between human beings and the natural world.

  9. #9 Man of Misery
    August 20, 2006

    Interesting discussion stimulated by a single word answer to a short (but not necessarily simple) question. I wish it were true.

    However, because of Benjamin’s answer, I fear it is not.

    Because of our propensity to use thought (or perhaps reasoning, since “I am hungry” could be construed as thought), humans have caused changes to our environment that is out of all proportion to our size & scale. Sure, elephants can be hard on their little corner of the jungle and Orcas may decimate the seal population in their limited part of the ocean, but only humans, with their infernal machines and their insatiable lust for acquisition (of either power or things) pose a global threat. Regardless of how many cows fart, it is the burning of fossil fuels that is destroying the atmosphere that allows life on this little blue ball to continue. And the extraction of those fossil fuels isn’t helping, either. Just a couple of examples. The whole ecosystem would likely be better off if we were culled.

  10. #10 christian
    August 20, 2006

    Benjamin Franz: I regard thought as ‘just something matter does’.

    Belief is no relief – my matter is always wondering how it can can do so in the first place :)

  11. #11 Tom DVM
    August 20, 2006

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. #12 cougar
    August 20, 2006

    What separates us? The answer SHOULD be ‘nothing.’ Unfortunately, we as a species have the unique ability to trash the entire planet with a total disregard for other species with which we share this little blue world, and because of this, IMO, our value on a planetary scale is much less than that of any other species. Mother Nature will institute her own culling, and we deserve it.

  13. #13 caia
    August 20, 2006

    Interesting comments, but I like Revere’s answer best. It both answers the question and demolishes the assumptions behind it. Assumptions like, “Why are humans better than other animals?” or “What makes us exempt from nature’s laws?” Nicely done, Revere.

  14. #14 christian
    August 20, 2006

    Disregarding the chair for a moment (to narrow it down), Revere is basically arguing that all species are different and have different properties, and that we’re no different.
    But Man alone is a mystery to himself. So why does God keep blurring the picture?

    Note – it’s my name, not my religion :)

  15. #15 ann
    August 20, 2006

    THANKS for the laugh out loud answer, it is so true.

  16. #16 Hito
    August 20, 2006

    Man of Misery & cougar: Don’t be so naive about human’s “unique” ability to alter and/or trash the planet. Blue-green algae and all sorts of other criters have been responsible for wholesale long-term changes in the composition of earths atmosphere (think: CO2 and O2), and possibly even massive climactic changes far more drastic anything humans have (yet) done. Yea, sure, we’re pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at a suicidal rate… but the little bugs took an un-inhabitable primitive planet and turned it into a paradise.

    Nukes might be something altogether different, though. Of course, even then, future radiation-loving creatures might look back and think fondly of how humans sacrificed their own survival to create a perfect radioactive world for them.

  17. #17 mary in hawaii
    August 20, 2006

    It is the very concept that we ARE different (which is promoted in the Judeo-Christian bible by the belief that God gave man dominion over all the beasts etc) that has made us the little destructo-machines that we are. We ruin all of nature because we believe we have that right. In putting ourselves on some godlike pedestal, believing that we as spiritual beings are better than our bodies, these little meat machines we run around in become a constant nuisance to us, a source of guilt, embarrassment and shame. Look how much we spend on our appearance: clothes, make-up, hair stylists, workouts at the gym, plastic surgery, operations and treatments that keep bladders from leaking, eliminate embarrassing body odors, bad breath, and flatulence. Do you think your dog cares if its farts clear the room? Just part of the “natural world”.

    But we are forced to chronically deny to our own selves that we are lustful, greedy, gluttonous, and self-serving, because to allow that we are indeed just part of the natural world, we might have to face our own demise…

    The fact that we “think” or “reason” is in slim evidence, considering what we have done to our planet. And there is more and more evidence that lots of animals think and reason and understand a great deal more than we give them credit for. If there is any difference between our own thought processes from that of other beasts, it may be that we are the only ones who have an awareness of our own limited life span, or who question what becomes of us after we are gone. This seems to be a prime motivating force in much of what we do and think about. Yet though we cannot accept the idea of non-existence, cannot imagine the world going on without us, only a short span of years ago none of us here existed yet. Funny we never really look in that direction to examine our limited tenure here on earth. The whole concept and strength of religion – and to a large extent science, technology and modern medicine – has to do with that ever pressing need to somehow outfox death.

    So tell me, revere, do you think other life forms in the “natural world” are cognizant of their own limited span on earth? Does this make us different?

  18. #18 another
    August 20, 2006

    “What separates humans from the rest of the natural world?”

    Four walls, a roof and a floor.

  19. #19 Man of Misery
    August 20, 2006

    With a bow toward Mary in Paradise,

    these little meat machines we run around in become a constant nuisance to us, a source of guilt, embarrassment and shame

    I’d say that particularly applies to those of us in the USA, and particularly with regard to (whisper) S-E-X.

    If we weren’t so hung up on the human body, naked or otherwise, and the simple biological function associated with reproduction, we would have a whole lot healthier approach to many subjects, from stem cell research to sex ed in school to STD follow-up.

  20. #20 Chuck
    August 20, 2006

    We, as humans, are subjetct to the same physical laws that govern the entire universe. We have no evidence of an extroverse, so the universe must include us. There is no escape. Revere is absolutely correct.

  21. #21 floridagirl
    August 20, 2006

    LOL…. Truly profound!

  22. #22 christian
    August 21, 2006

    Truly – the question was not, however, whether we share the same universe, but whether something seperates us from the rest of it. And since the mere mentioning of God leads to all sorts of uncalled for assumptions, let’s go with Mary:

    “So tell me, revere, do you think other life forms in the “natural world” are cognizant of their own limited span on earth? Does this make us different?”

    Does it?

  23. #23 Ana
    August 21, 2006

    Man is part of nature. Man thinks (or acts like, if one prefers) he is above and outside Nature and can dominate it.

    This difference is not biological or philosophical, nor is it clear-cut – see those algae above. A matter of practicality.

  24. #24 DerekSmith
    August 21, 2006

    “What separates humans from the rest of the natural world?”

    Nothing. — Nothing that is, but our arrogance in thinking that we are separate.

  25. #25 revere
    August 21, 2006

    christian, MiH: There are people who think all sorts of things, and for all we know, animals whose mental processes (unless you think they have no correlates to what we call mental processes) are analogous to ours. There are even people who think they (or some part of them) are immortal, and hence don’t have the sense you ascribe to all humans. Probably one of the most primitive instincts of life forms with mental processes is that some of them are related to their mortality, so, yes, I think there are other life forms “cognizant” in that sense.

    I see no reason to believe there is anything in “me” that will last beyond any of the other biological processes that make me “alive” except my substance, which will be redisbursed and re-organized into gas molecules, etc. But that’s a personal opinion and you can take it or leave it. Just don’t foist it or a specious cryptoreligious substitute on children you are charged to teach science.

    If there is a “designer” he/she/it/they is/are remarkably unintelligent and incompetent. Look around you. Why should the intricacies of molecular biology be any more of an exemplar than the intricacies of power politics, exploitation and viciousness? Do you bring this up in science class?

    The real issue here is that denying human exceptionalism denies the immortal soul and God, which is why a one word Sermonette can cause this kind of reaction.

  26. #26 Earl Mardle
    August 21, 2006

    The same thing that separates Revere, floridagirl, ann and maybe another, from the rest of the respondents to this sermonette.

  27. #27 christian
    August 21, 2006

    I knew I shouldn’t have brought God into the equation, assumptions and the like. My only problem with the development of the universe as it is presented by science, is that I seem to miss that particular point in time where conciousness evolved out of – for lack of a better name – matter.
    If you go from the premisse that the big bang, or the big collision of dimensions or whatever we call the big beginning, was a rather unlikely event for anything or anyone to be concious of (so that it ‘existed’ much like a certain tree falling down in the Amazon), then my questions would be “what is conciousness?” and “can it be derived from matter?”.

    But that wasn’t the original question.

  28. #28 revere
    August 21, 2006

    christian: God was always part of the question because my answer denies God and many commenters understood that. If you consider consciousness as just another phenomenon to be explained by science (e.g., neuroscience) then there is no difference. Even defining “life” is fraught with difficulty. Are viruses alive? How about computer viruses? This is not the place to argue this, only to acknowledge that some of the terms you use are not transparent.

  29. #29 christian
    August 21, 2006

    Revere: I fully agree we would be better of without any such concept. But do we have any choice, except a personal one like yours? If you cannot find god, try the nearest war, he’ll be around somewhere – meanwhile I’ll try to find another name for the fact that I caught life somehow :)

  30. #30 epistemology
    August 21, 2006

    christian:

    I seem to miss that particular point in time where conciousness evolved out of – for lack of a better name – matter.

    You may have missed it, you were young. (I’m going to assume you mean self-awareness when you say consciousness.) Did you have consciousness when you were 2 days old christian? 2 months? 2 years? When did this miracle inhabit your mind (and by mind, I mean matter)?

    As for awareness of their own mortality, as Revere points out, most of the world seems to have concluded they will never die, if you take their religious beliefs at face value.

  31. #31 epistemology
    August 21, 2006

    And while I’m at it, as much as I prefer the term “freethinker” over the nonsensical term “brights” that has been clogging the internet pipes for some time, I think the term “skeptic” is more to the point.

    What distinguishes the post-Enlightenment view from the religious is not belief (Hume proved we need to take a certain number of assumptions on faith if we are not to be solipsists) but certainty.

    The essence of modern science is that no knowledge is perfect, and there are no sacred texts (OK, Euclid’s Elements is close). This contrasts starkly with religion.

    Religion and science differ in two fundamental regards:

    1. Science believes the only immutable truth is uncertainty (a truth, by my wobbly grasp of formal logic, that does not fall prey to Russell’s paradox).
    2. Parsimony. Occam’s razor. The explanation that takes the fewest assumptions is correct. Religion’s fantastic stories are not false, just uselessly unnecessary. It wasn’t Nietzsche, but Occam’s razor that slit god’s throat.

  32. #32 revere
    August 21, 2006

    epistemology: This puts us in deep epistemological waters, IMO. One of the unsolved “problems” (if it is a problem) is the Demarcation Problem, i.e., what separates science from non-science or pseudoscience. There is no agreement by philosophers of science on this matter and once you try to say what is not scientific about astrology (which was an important element in the genesis of modern science) versus astronomy, etc. Many scientists are still frozen in the epistemology of mid 20th century, believing that a criterion of being science is testability or falsifiability (not realizing these are opposed criteria). Popperism is long down the toilet for philosophers (impaled on the spear of the overdetermination of theory).

    The question of truth in formal logic (defined as a tautology) is not very relevant here (nor is Russell’s paradox). You prove nothing in empirical science, only in mathematics. And parsimony is (in Gerald Holton’s sense) a theme, not a principle. So the desire to erect an epistemological criterion doesn’t seem to work, or at last not work easily.

    I may do a series of posts at some point on the Demarcation Problem as it is very interesting. It is likely to give aid and comfort to the ID movement but it shouldn’t. They are not doing science nor are they interested in science. They are creationists. But it is also important to be analytical about this.

  33. #33 mary in hawaii
    August 22, 2006

    REvere: In my posting above I talked about all the NEGATIVE effects religion has on people, making them deny their own natural bodies and instincts, as well as condoning their destruction of all other species. I mentioned the possibility that religion got such a hold on people because of their awareness and fear of their own mortality, and asked if you thought other animals might or might not have such awareness, and if that could possibly be the one thing that sets us apart. That was my message.

    You responded: ” I see no reason to believe there is anything in “me” that will last beyond any of the other biological processes that make me “alive” except my substance, which will be redisbursed and re-organized into gas molecules, etc. But that’s a personal opinion and you can take it or leave it. Just don’t foist it or a specious cryptoreligious substitute on children you are charged to teach science.”

    I do not see anywhere in the above posting of mine that I said anything to give you reason that I believe in religion, or life beyond death. I simply said that people fear there is none, and that’s why they seek religion (as well as modern medicine) to outfox it. Nor did I say or intimate anything to justify your poorly veiled accusation that I “foist it on children I am charged to teach science.” You obviously are carrying on the argument from the other subject area about evolution. However even in that I have said unequivocally that I do NOT teach religion in school, only that the possiblility for ID in the ORIGIN of the first life forms (bacteria) has not yet been disproven by science. Which, like it or not, it hasn’t. Yet despite the most thorough and careful of explanations, even backing up my teaching methods by citing almost identical statements to mine from a biology book used extensively in public universities as well as in many high school AP biology classes, you just keep on accusing me of what essentially amounts to malfeasance in my responsibilities as a science teacher. I think you ought to take a look at your attack and wonder why it is so vehement, ongoing and closed to all reason.

  34. #34 epistemology
    August 22, 2006

    Mary:

    You are biasing your class in favor of Christianity if you don’t also teach that the Hindu notion of polytheism has not been disproven by science (just rendered superfluous like intelligent design and Christianity).

    So do you also mention Hinduism in science class? No? Then you are just making weak arguments to convince yourself that your faith is consistent with science.

    Learn to reconcile the two in a more honest way (it is possible, though unnecessary) or find another job.

  35. #35 christian
    August 22, 2006

    christian: “I seem to miss that particular point in time where conciousness evolved out of – for lack of a better name – matter.”

    epistemology: “You may have missed it, you were young. (I’m going to assume you mean self-awareness when you say consciousness.) Did you have consciousness when you were 2 days old christian? 2 months? 2 years? When did this miracle inhabit your mind (and by mind, I mean matter)?”

    Actually I meant consciousness as such – by whom, of what? I don’t know, but if it wasn’t there in the first place, meaning the ‘beginning if time’ or whatever you care to call it, it most have appeared somehow out of the ‘matter at hand’. That is logic.

    So tell me, what is consciousness? (everyone always seems to skip that one).
    If it can be derived from matter, then why are we not able to at least explain how?

    I did have consciousness when I was two days old, yes, though not yet molded into a ‘mind’ and its ‘owner’ – maybe you didn’t cry while being born? Or dream before that?

  36. #36 Earl E.
    August 22, 2006

    Freethinker Sunday Sermonette: what separates humans from the rest of the natural world?

    Nothing.

    EXCEPT:
    We have a choice.

    We must fight our human nature daily, and strive to rise

    above our negative tendencies for the good of the whole

    world. We must accept responsibility for the mess we are

    in. Our capacity for destruction is limitless.

    We must CARE for the planet and each other.

    God said we are stewards—the top management of Earth.

    If we want to continue to live on Earth, we have to accept our responsibility to Earth.

  37. #37 Ana
    August 22, 2006

    Hee hee. Pythagoras (building on the work of others and preceding Euler..) presented us with certain abstractions of the physical world, created by the human brain, nicely organised to fit a rule bound scheme (with presuppositions, rules, proof, etc.)

    Philosophers and neuro-speculators tell us he did that essentially be mining his own brain function – Pythagoras stopped dead when facing a brick wall and was capable of dodging around trees and playing tennis, had he had racket, ball, and partner. His brain ‘knew’ the difference between a straight line and a dodgy one and a curve.. Hey presto! And there we get one of the presuppositions of analytic geometry. (I don’t mean this literally, the concept of a straight line must have been established in the upper Paleolithic..)

    Cats also ‘know’ that the quickest way from a to b is straight line, etc. etc. To put it more parsimoniously, their behavior shows that their brains calculate spatial parameters similarly to the way we do. In what measure cats are ‘aware’ or ‘conscious’ of their spatial knowledge is unknown. Personally, I would argue that spatial problem solving capabilities such as those manifested by rats, which clearly exhibit combinations of different parameters and trial-and-error (I’m no rat specialist, so don’t ask me for refs.) imply a certain kind of ‘consciousness’, i.e. goal driven thinking, a ‘conscious’ hunt for solutions through new combinations and feedback loops.

    So, to conclude, between the two conventional candidates that have peppered our history that have been put forward to distinguish man from animal, or to illustrate the difference, namely consciousness (or something or other in that aisle), and language (better: symbolic behavior as a whole), my money is on language.

    Externalizing and being able to communicate, thus share, descriptions and explanations of the ‘world’, has led us to set up a body of knowledge, and knowledge about knowledge, etc. that provides schemes for action. We write books about geometry, build bridges and bombs. Cats do not.

    These are real differences, if not ‘bedrock’ ones. The result of evolution…

  38. #38 christian
    August 22, 2006

    So, to conclude, between the two conventional candidates that have peppered our history that have been put forward to distinguish man from animal, or to illustrate the difference, namely consciousness (or something or other in that aisle), and language (better: symbolic behavior as a whole), my money is on language.

    Externalizing and being able to communicate, thus share, descriptions and explanations of the ‘world’, has led us to set up a body of knowledge, and knowledge about knowledge, etc. that provides schemes for action. We write books about geometry, build bridges and bombs.

    So much is clear, and one could argue that this behaviour is exceptional enough to ‘separate’ us from the rest of the universe.
    Then again, one could argue that lots of species display exceptional properties, some of which are not understood at all (‘yet’, for the scientifical optimist). No need to consider them separated from the rest of the universe for that.
    That’s what revere does and in that sense he’s right. I rest his case.

    As to the G-word and ‘consciousness': logic dictates that if it (meaning the latter) wasn’t already there at the beginning of time, it most have appeared at some point in time out of the ‘matter at hand’.

    How, please?

  39. #39 traumatized
    August 22, 2006

    Revere,
    I think some consideration of the demarcation problem would be a welcome relief for many of us that enjoy the commenting in your blog-world. In particular, I would *love* to hear it filtered through an epidemiologist (so much of philosophy of science limits discussion to physics).
    But beware. Once you get past Popper (Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend, etc…) potential future scientists start dropping like flies. Or maybe they just start vomitting like flies…

  40. #40 epistemology
    August 22, 2006

    christian:

    As to the G-word and ‘consciousness': logic dictates that if it (meaning the latter) wasn’t already there at the beginning of time, it most have appeared at some point in time out of the ‘matter at hand’.
    How, please?

    One answer, not very satisfactory to me, is that if god could always be there, than why not consciousness?

    But a less flip answer is that consciousness can be thought to have evolved as a part of our brains that monitors, and comments on, the rest. Not very hard to picture. There was no exact point in evolution when this occurred, unless you think you were fully conscious at one day old.

    And again I would point out that if you are talking about a particular consciousness, not the idea in general, then it began sometime after the birth of the individual in question. Why not deal with this idea instead of your grand notion of the cosmological significance of it?

    Do you think that your personal consciousness was suddenly infused into you sometime between your birth and now? If not, pondering its development will help you answer your questions about it.

  41. #41 epistemology
    August 22, 2006

    As for the demarcation problem:

    There is no demarcation. Science is what scientists do, religion is what theologians discuss.

    Religion and science both rely on logic, observation, citations, authority, etc. They both depend on agreed upon assumptions. But science’s are far more parsimonious. They are so stripped down that people of all religions agree on them: The real world exists outside our minds. The past can be a guide to the future, etc. By comparison, to some Christians, every word in the Bible is axiomatic. And scientists have no sacred texts. Indeed the axioms on which our science is founded are open to question. Not so in religion.

    Religion starts with answers, and derives more answers, science starts with questions and derives more questions.

  42. #42 epistemology
    August 22, 2006

    As for Revere’s original question: What separates humans from the rest of the natural world?

    We play with fire. Our fearlessness in the face of fire is what has set us apart. It was the beginning of everything from language (there is only one way to sit around a fire: in a circle, facing each other), to metallurgy.

  43. #43 mary in hawaii
    August 26, 2006

    epistemology: you will probably not read this as I am answering you several days late. However, you presume I am “christian”. I am not. If there is any organized religion my personal belief systems fit closest to it is the original pure form of hinduism. (You would probably think of it as Buddhism…which was just the Buddha’s attempt to restore and revitalize and make accessible the original tenets of Hinduism.) And no, I don’t teach hinduism or buddhism or any other religion in my class including Christianity. Obviously your mind is too small to make the leap between what I have said and what your mind spews out in reaction. But don’t you dare tell me to get another job you fried egg! You know nothing about me and how I teach or who I am or anything else. All I can say is that atheists have proven my thesis…that they are as single-mindedly devout in their disbelief as fundamentalists of any religion are single mindedly (and shall we say close-mindedly) devoted to theirs. Openness in this world is hard to come by apparently, and not for the faint of heart or small brained.

  44. #44 Hafabee
    August 27, 2006

    Mary, I am one freethinker who hears you. I applaude the teaching approach that you described in your original comment. The main thing that I think that many of your detractors here (including revere) have missed is that it is not you who are bringing Christianity into your classroom, it is your students! You are 100% correct that if you do not address your students firmly held preconceived notions about God and evolution, you have no hope of them hearing you about the science. I am sure that if you were encountering students whose belief in Hinduism was preventing them from accepting the science, you would (correctly) be addressing Hinduism in class.

    And who knows, perhaps you are providing some of your fundamentalist Christian students their first steps on their own personal road to freethinking.

  45. #45 chivito
    August 27, 2006

    awesome commentary! as always, i learn so much in these threads and my respect for revere’s depth of knowledge and the overall intelligence of this forum and its participants increases.

    that said: i’m down with mary. it seems science– by the rules laid down here by episto and others– must continue to accept uncertainty and keep questioning and testing.

    certainty in the ABSENCE of an overmind seems as absolutist as certainty in its EXISTENCE. let’s just keep searching and questioning.

    and acknowledging and addressing the seemingly innate myth-making machinery that (many) humans have (lakoff, right?) and tempering it with SCIENCE (!) seems like a judicious way of dealing with our experience.

    keep on rockin’ in the free world!

Current ye@r *