Re: self-evident

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Tue, 07 Apr 1998 17:20:05 -0500 (EST)

At 10:15 AM 4/6/98 -0400, Massimo Pigliucci wrote:
>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.

Dear Massimo,

I believe the non-physical is so pervasive that it may go unnoticed to some.
Sort of the fish not being aware of the water in which it swims. The claim
that science explains all would imply that biology, chemistry, etc. are
based on physics with mathematics as its language.

A totally materialistic theory of everything would consist of a set of laws
which can be written down. Wherein lies the power for such laws to bring the
whole into being?

>> 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.

I am afraid some scientists are not as humble as you claim. The achievements
of modern science was done by the likes of people that agree with my view of
reality--Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Kepler, Boyle, Pascal, Pasteur, etc.

>> 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"?

How would you explain human love to an alien from another civilization? Next
time you are with someone you love, just tell him/her your feelings are
nothing but hormone levels, blood pressure, etc. Such human emotions go
beyond any possible physical description.

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

Don't sell yourself so cheap!

>> 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.

There is information in the function of the mind which uses the brain as ink
and paper is used to write a poem. Is the poem, therefore, nothing but ink
and paper?

>> 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!!

Congratulations!! I hope one day you will become a father and experience the
joy of parenthood. If I may, I will give you an advice I took many years ago
which eventually turned me into a Christian. My wife and I went to Mexico
City where I became a physics professor in a graduate school. We had two
very young daughters and it was a challenge to raise them in a foreign
culture away from any relatives. [I was born in Cuba and knew the language
but my wife did not.] I met a missionary and began reading the Bible. One
day the following verse came to my attention: "Fathers, do not provoke your
children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of
the Lord." Eph. 6:4. That day I followed that injunction faithfully. I do
not regret ever doing that.

Take care,