Re: self-evident

Massimo Pigliucci (
Mon, 06 Apr 1998 10:15:04 -0400

Dear Moorad,

> Science deals only with the physical which is only part of reality.
It seems to be pretty arrogant to solidly maintain that there is a
non-physical reality when there is absolutely no way of accessing it or
showing it to third parties... But that's your prerogative, of course.

> The scientific method is not the only way of knowing.
No, but it's the only reliable one so far invented by humans. See, this
is one big difference between us. Scientists and rationalists are
content in acknowledging the limits of human understanding, but are
proud of what we have achieved. You mock the human intellect by invoking
a mysterious alternative reality of which there isn't a shroud of
evidence, and then you're condemning us to not knowing anything about it
(unless we're willing to follow your blind faith, of course). Sorry, it
doesn't sound appealing to me.

> Have you developed a love-meter, a hate-meter, etc. Such notions are not
> measurable by scientific apparatuses. Would you claim, therefore, that they
> do not exist?
First, those are *tangible* human emotions (unlike your god). Second, of
course you can measure them, are you kidding? Ever heard of hormone
levels, blood pressure, and so on? Naturally, there is more than an
increase in blood pressure to these things, but how in the world does
the fact that we don't understand them make them "supernatural"?

> Matter cannot reason, but you can.
But I am made *only* of matter, my friend... Complex, interconnected,
but matter nonetheless.

> Explain how reasoning comes from atoms and molecules.
Hey, there is a whole field of science called neurophysiology which
deals exactly with that. Again, we don't know a lot, but all we know
points to the conclusion that, yes, atoms and molecules can reason, as
long as there is enough of them and they are connected in certain ways.

> I dare you tell your lovely Melissa that she is nothing but the solution of
> a complicated Schrodinger equation. Let us see how far that gets you :)
Very far, since she's going to marry me in a bit more than a month!!


Massimo Pigliucci, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution
Society for the Study of Evolution "Dobzhansky" Awardee
Dept. of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1100
phone 423-974-6221 fax 0978

Lab page Science & Society Darwin Day Rationalists of East Tennessee

"I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this." -- Emo Phillips ******************************************************************