Le 26-oct.-07, à 20:18, Brent Meeker a écrit :

>
> Bruno Marchal wrote:
> ...
>>
>> Is God good? Well, according to Plato, accepting the rather natural
>> "theological" interpretation of the Parmenides (like Plotinus), there
>> is a sense to say that God is "good", but probably not in the 
>> Christian
>> sense (if that can be made precise). Indeed, Plato's God is just 
>> Truth.
>> And Truth is not good as such, but the awareness of truth, or simply
>> the search of truth,  is, for a Platonist,  a prerequisite for the
>> *possible* development of goodness.
>> Truth is necessary for justice, and justice is necessary for goodness.
>> That's the idea. It makes knowledge (and thus truth) a good thing, in
>> principle.
>> But Vance's novel rises a doubt. Actually, that doubt can rise through
>> the reading of the first Pythagorean writings, which insist so much on
>> hiding their knowledge to the non-initiated people, making them 
>> secret.
>> (according to the legend, their kill a disciple who dares to make
>> public the discovery of the irrationality of the square root of 2).
>> Maimonides also, in his "Guide for the perplexed" insists that
>> fundamental knowledge has to be reserved for the initiated or the 
>> elite
>> people.
>>
>> Fundamentally I don't know. I know a lot of particular case where
>> knowledge can be bad. But this happens always in "human, too much
>> human" practical circumstances, like during war, illness, etc.  (it is
>> not good that your enemies *knows* where are your missiles; it is not
>> good to tell a bad new to some old dying people, etc. But this never
>> concerns fundamental truth.
>
> But what truth is "fundamental"?



OK. I should not have talk about "fundamental truth", but about 
"fundamental question". By which I mean "where do I come from?", "what 
can we hope", "what is the nature of matter", "is life a dream?" etc.
None of those question are really addressed by today's science which 
focuses on the physical aspect of reality without really tackling 
seriously (in the doubting way) its metaphysical aspect and its psycho 
or theo logical aspect.






> Quantum gravity seems like an esoteric game to most people and so you 
> can say anything you want about it without any ethical implications.  
> But when quantum gravity seems to provide a non-supernatural 
> cosmogony, religions are threatened and suddenly it's like bad news to 
> a dying man (and we're all dying).


If a religion is threatened by science, it means it is build on bad 
faith. At least with comp science has to be a part of theology. If 
theology does not extend science, it means it is wrong. Now sometimes 
some scientist talk like if they were priest, and that is two times 
more wrong than usual priest talk. Religion, like science, is 
threatened by bad science, and even more by bad religion (religion 
based on "blind" faith or authoritative argument).
Now, don't tell me that a theory like quantum gravity  provides a non 
supernatural cosmogony given that quantum gravity study quantum gravity 
and perhaps the physical universe, but not the mind, nor the soul, the 
person or consciousness. It is not its subject a priori. To look at 
quantum gravity as a cosmogony is a confusion between subject like 
physics and theology. This threatens theology, because without making 
some very strong physicalist assumption, which are incompatible with 
the mechanist thesis, it consists to make physics a religion without 
saying! This is just dishonest. Such a physical universe is worst than 
a white male God, because it looks scientific (unlike the male God), 
but it isn't.

It looks that in winter, people forget all about the 1/3 distinction. 
In Quantum gravity this 1/3 distinction is a bit hidden. You have to 
postulate comp, and thus Everett before. (Well, as you know, you have 
to derive Everett but it is not the point here).




>
> Coincidentally, James Watson has just lost his job because he said 
> some things that, while narrowly true, support a racist view of 
> Africa.  Were they "fundamental"  or does "fundamental" = "of no 
> import in society"?



I love Watson because I discover "the math of computer science" by 
myself  in his book "Molecular Biology of the Gene". This book has 
played a so big role in my youth that I have been using for years the 
word "Watson" as a synonym of "Bible".

But J. Watson has become the worst materialist I have ever heard about. 
According to a talk I have followed some years ago (I should search for 
the reference) Watson seems to believe only in ATOMS". Someone told him 
"Surely you believe in molecules M. Watson". And James Watson would 
have answered: "No, I don't, there are only atoms!".
Weird ....

By "fundamental" I really mean the same as in "fundamental science". 
Unless in company of theological hypothesis, it has no more impact on 
society other than its technical products.
Einstein discovered the relation between matter and energy only through 
a deep motivation for fundamental question: what is matter, what is the 
nature of light, how could resemble the universe when seen by  a 
photon, etc.

But of course, its questioning led him to the discovery of precise and 
refutable empirical statements, most of them did have incredible 
impacts of our live today.

Bruno




http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/

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