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Re: [Gnosticism2] Re: Science/Mythology

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  • Paul Kieniewicz
    Belatedly, thank you Cari for your reply and for the interesting link to the article on metaphors . I accept your points, that scientists are not objective
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 26, 2003
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      Belatedly, thank you Cari for your reply and for the interesting link to the article on "metaphors". I accept your points, that scientists are not objective beings. Certainly they are conditioned by belief systems and those do enter into their research (the male vs female IQ a case in point). Religous conditioning also enters in --- the Darwinian universe being a strong (atheistic) reaction to the religous ethos of the 19th century.
       
      Another aspect of the issue is the extend to which modern myths come in scientific trappings, because that is what our minds relate to today. Flying Saucers and the Matrix come to mind. BTW, the" Matrix," and the expression "cyberspace" first appeared in the 1980's in William Gibson's novel, "Neuromancer" --- quite a wild book that also contains gnostic elements.
       
      Paul
       

      lady_caritas <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Paul Kieniewicz <paulmmk@y...>
      wrote:

      >>I'm afraid I  take issue with Mr. Fiedler's thesis that the
      scientific endeavour is mythological or influenced by "mythological
      constructs".<<

      Well, Dr. Fideler does mention (_Gnosis_, Spring, 1991, page 6-7)
      that "history has shown how strongly science itself is *influenced*
      by mythological constructs."  So, Paul, I suppose it might help to
      define what "mythological" means in this instance.  Unfortunately Dr.
      Fideler isn't here to clarify, but I could take that to simply
      mean  "lacking factual basis or historical validity" (Webster) or
      even "relating to mythology,"... relating to "the body of stories
      associated with a culture or institution or person." (Webster) 
      Actually, the other letter I quoted from V. F. Vogt also included a
      few examples of mythology affecting theories in the nineteenth and
      twentieth centuries; for instance, anthropologists in the 1880's
      creating evidence to classify races and one even circulating a
      pamphlet about women's brains being "soft as their bodies, so they
      could not comprehend the principles of higher learning."  Vogt
      acknowledges that scientists might say that  "anthropological
      theories have been revised in the last twenty years because science
      is open to new evidence."  He, however, suggests that "the revision
      is because racism and sexism are no longer politically popular." 

      Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle.  And some might point
      to these as extreme examples; however, David Fideler's premise is
      that to view science as only objective reality and religious
      cosmologies as only a subjective phenomenon is "crass and
      reductive."  OTOH, yes, the scientific _method_ is largely empirical
      and rational, but there is still a subjective element because not
      only religious knowledge, but also scientific knowledge is "rooted in
      the principle of consciousness."  He further states, "Yet Ted's
      argument implies that consciousness is a subjective phenomenon, while
      science offers objective truth.  Stated this way, the fallacy becomes
      obvious, for if consciousness itself did not possess the means of
      determining objective truth, both scientific insight and technology
      could not exist.  If consciousness can grasp eternal, objective
      truths (for example in mathematics and physics), the principle of
      consciousness must have something in common with its objects of
      inquiry.  Insofar as the scientific method (with its claims for
      objective, universal knowledge) is rooted in the principle of
      consciousness, science implicitly accepts the premise that
      consciousness itself is an objective, universal phenomenon, and that
      its insights are not limited by time or place.  All of a sudden, the
      underlying principle of rational science is starting to sound pretty
      mystical."

      Indeed, some view science as largely metaphoric:
      http://www.scientificexploration.org/jse/articles/jahn1/7.html

      That is not to say that science and religion are the same.  Science
      is primarily concerned with physical reality.  Gerry, in his post
      #8674 mentions, "It seems foolhardy to look to one discipline to
      prove the tenets of another, but that doesn't mean that one cannot
      independently complement another."

      And, I would add in agreement with Fideler that different disciplines
      of learning *should* work together in contributing "something to a
      larger understanding of reality as a whole."

      >>But sometimes a spade is just a spade, and not a symbol. A pot is
      round for various practical reasons and its roundness is not
      conceived as a symbol of wholeness or a mandala.

      Yes, many modern scientists such as Einstein, Pauli, and Heisenberg
      had interesting insights into the meaning of things, and their work
      may have sprung from an inner desire to explore this meaning. But
      they are the exception. Many more scientists are led to using science
      and technology  to create innovative ways to kill and destroy. The
      human mind immediately figures out how to use any discovery for its
      murderous purposes.

      This reminds me of the gnostic myths of mind working alone without
      its consort, and creating a world without meaning. In some of those
      myths you'll find meaning.<<

      And, Paul, you have offered an excellent illustration of why
      disciplines should complement each other instead of being fragmented
      into isolated subdisciplines.  I'm not at all arguing whether a spade
      is a physical object or whether it has practical value.  The Gnostics
      certainly viewed the physical as real, but not as the only reality. 
      IOW, practical application of a spade might be helpful, but in light
      of your example, should it be used as a garden tool or as a weapon?



      >> But gnostic myths are not science, and hopefully are not concerned
      with the origin of the physical universe.<<

      Sure, they are concerned with origin of the physical universe, but
      not only a physical origin.  They investigate this with a
      mythological modality.  Terje (post #8661) describes the myth as
      having a specific purpose � "namely offering pointers, signposts -
      for our imagination and our ability to perceive in an alternate
      manner." 

      Gnostics valued importance of both the rational and the nonrational. 
      Science alone without its "consort" could end up being a dead-end
      investigation of the nature of corruptibility. 



      Cari














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    • lady_caritas
      ... link to the article on metaphors . You re welcome, Paul. I found that whole website quite compelling. ... Religous conditioning also enters in --- the
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 26, 2003
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        --- In gnosticism2@yahoogroups.com, Paul Kieniewicz <paulmmk@y...>
        wrote:
        > Belatedly, thank you Cari for your reply and for the interesting
        link to the article on "metaphors".


        You're welcome, Paul. I found that whole website quite compelling.

        >
        >I accept your points, that scientists are not objective beings.
        >Certainly they are conditioned by belief systems and those do enter
        >into their research (the male vs female IQ a case in point).
        Religous conditioning also enters in --- the Darwinian universe being
        a strong (atheistic) reaction to the religous ethos of the 19th
        >century.


        I find it interesting that many people tend to relate, sometimes in a
        reactive manner, in terms of black and white religious supernatural
        theism (god beings) vs. rational, naturalistic atheism, although
        there certainly are religious or spiritually inclined people who
        consider themselves atheistic or nontheistic as well as
        materialists/atheists who very much recognize the significance of
        both their rational and nonrational natures.



        > Another aspect of the issue is the extend to which modern myths
        come in scientific trappings, because that is what our minds relate
        to today. Flying Saucers and the Matrix come to mind. BTW, the"
        Matrix," and the expression "cyberspace" first appeared in the 1980's
        in William Gibson's novel, "Neuromancer" --- quite a wild book that
        also contains gnostic elements.
        >
        > Paul


        Oh, wow, I keep saying I'm going to pick up that book. Has it been
        that long? lol No excuses; I should read it. I've heard enough
        about it.

        In that vein, considering your mention of Darwin, Gibson, "matrix,"
        and "cyberspace," here is a link to a collection of quotes
        ("Cyberspace – the New Jerusalem") about these terms you might (or
        not) be familiar with, under the following headings: Definitions and
        Origin, The Gnostic Mythform, The Platonic Matrix, Evolution or
        Entropy? ~
        http://www.well.com/user/davidu/cyberspace.html

        Also, this lecture about cyberspace mentions Gibson, as well as
        Gnosticism ~
        http://is.gseis.ucla.edu/impact/s94/speakers/rosenthal/rosenthal-
        talk.html


        Cari
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