on 04.01.2011 11:43 Bruno Marchal said the following:

On 03 Jan 2011, at 19:33, Evgenii Rudnyi wrote:


Do you mean that some time ago the times were less obscurantist? If
 yes, could you please tell me when?

From -500 to +500. Roughly speaking. From Pythagorus to the closure
of Plato academy. In intellectual circles, of course. This is not
supposed to be taken too much literally. Since 523, theology has been
abandoned by the academics (against their will of course) to the
political powers. Nothing has changed. We have the choice between
fairy tales theologies or the idea that theology is necessarily BS
(and then the dogma of materialism, which is a pseudo-theology which
tries to make us believe it is "science", making science an
authoritative argument in the fundamental matter). Science and
religion are inseparable, and when you separate them you get
pseudo-science and pseudo-religion, and you get the ten thousand
manipulative tools of the powers driven by the special interest,

I would agree that science is impossible without belief. Yet, in my view there is a big difference between science and religion as well. Science is inseparable from a question "How do you know". On the other hand, in religion such a question would be inappropriate, as religion is based on the authority. Science is driven by anarchists, to this end I like what R. B. Laughlin says in his book A Different Universe, Chapter Star Warriors. A couple of citation from there.

"The practicalities of responsible adulthood are arguably the reason discoveries tend to be made by the young. It is not that young people are smarter, although they often are, but that they have fewer promises to keep."

"There will always be scientists – real ones – for the simple reason that there will always be a steady trickle of anarchists generated by responsible and good families doing their level best to avoid this outcome and produce only bankers, doctors, and soccer coaches. As the older ones are killed of by the practicalites of life, newer ones rise up to take their place like new grass in spring, in a cycle of creative rebirth that transcends the generations and is older than history."

Now a citation from the chapter The Emergent Age, where indeed Laughlin shows similarity between religion and science:

"Greek creation myths satirize many things in modern life, particularly cosmological theories. Exploding things, such as dynamite or the big bang, are unstable. Theories of explosions, including the first picoseconds of the big bang, thus cross Barriers of Relevance and are inherently unfalsifiable, notwithstanding widely cited supporting “evidence” such as isotopic abundances at the surface of stars and the cosmic microwave background anisotropy."

"The analogy with Greek religion also applies to the humbler end of the research spectrum, where warring among scientists to see whose emergent god is more powerful is an everyday reality. A case in point is ordinary semiconduction. Back when I was in grade school, it was said that the tribe of semiconductor physics lived in piece in the Silicon Valley and worshiped crystallinity, the daughter of which, the gods of valence band and conduction band, caused transistor actions and prosperity. But then they were invaded by a hostile tribe of chemists, who worshiped not the crystal but the molecule and who believed its offspring, the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital and highest occupied molecular orbital, were the true cause of transistor action, and that the worshipers of the old gods wre inferior and unclean. The two tribes engaged in bloody combat – fought with disinformation, dirty tricks, and refusal to speak the name of the other tribe’s god – each hoping to starve the other tribe of research dollars and thus to annihilate it. The war resulted in stalemate, the vestiges of which persist today. As often happens in conflicts of this kind, the war was not really over conceptual matters at all but money, for these warring gods are actually different names for the same thing. Similar wars occur routinely in biology, although they are vastly nastier on account of the greater resources involved."



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