Re: Empiricism

Massimo Pigliucci (pigliucci@utk.edu)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:58:18 -0400

Dear Moorad,

there is a fundamental misunderstanding here. Somehow, you think that
scientists don't appreciate love, relationships, poetry, music, and
human emotions and the arts in general.

Now, *that* really is utter nonsense. Of course we do! The reason I feel
good about being a scientist is because *on top* of all of the above
(which is readily accessible to every human being with a heart - in the
poetic sense), I have a (partial, and probably partially wrong)
understanding of the physical reality of the universe.

Far from being pride for the sake of pride, it is pride of being a human
in the fullest sense of the word.

Where we disagree is in my claim that the "other" part of the world (the
feelings, the arts), are an epiphenomenon (!!) of the physical one. That
by no means imply that scientists will *ever* be able to describe love
and poetry with mathematical equations. And we don't really care of
doing that either (at least, most of us). That is not the point. But you
have to convince me that love and the arts imply the existence of
non-physical and supernatural realities. And that's much harder to do.

Good luck,
Massimo

--
******************************************************************
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 http://fp.bio.utk.edu/pgl Science & Society http://fp.bio.utk.edu/sands Darwin Day http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin Rationalists of East Tennessee http://www.korrnet.org/reality

"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 ******************************************************************